Independent Sales up 9.3% in 1998

March 2, 1999

Independent Sales up 9.3% in 1998

A strong holiday season and growing interest in platinum jewelry helped fuel an average 9.3% sales growth among independent retail jewelers in 1998 compared to 1997, according to the Jewelers of America Annual Business Survey.

The 432 JA members who responded to the survey reported an average 8.9% increase in sales during the December holiday selling season compared to the same period in 1997.

Platinum jewelry saw the largest sales growth, climbing an average 18.1% over 1997 with sales increasing for 63.6% of respondents. Diamond jewelry (up 10%) and sterling silver (up 9.3%) were also big movers. Karat gold sales increased in 48% of responding stores, but the average sales growth was only 3.8%. Cultured pearls increased 6% over 1997, while watches were up 5.2% and colored stones rose 3.9%.

Half of the respondents said they expected sales to continue increasing in the first half of 1999, while 40.6% expected to maintain the same level of sales. The average expected growth for the first half of this year is 4.5%.

Jewelers of America, (212) 768-8777, fax (212) 768-8087,

- by Stacey King