Jewelers' Sales Grow 9.1% in 1998

November 19, 1999

Jewelers' Sales Grow 9.1% in 1998

Jewelers of America's retail members sold 9.1% more jewelry and were 11% more profitable in 1998 than the previous year, according to the recently released JA 1999 Cost of Doing Business Survey.

High-end independents saw the largest growth in sales, up 11.6% over 1997, followed by chain stores (9.3%), designer/customer jewelers (9.2%) and middle-range independents (6.7%). Overall margins, which have been falling since 1986, were down to 48% last year, although custom jewelers averaged margins of 51.1%. Despite lower margins, profitability was up to 7.1% in 1998, compared to 6.4% in 1997.

Diamond jewelry continued to be the biggest seller, accounting for 46% of sales among respondents. Other top sellers were karat gold jewelry (13% of total sales), colored stone jewelry (10%) and repairs (9%).

- by Stacey King