Jewelers of America member retailers experienced a 10.5% increase in sales in 1999, according to the recently released 2000 edition of JA's Cost of Doing Business Survey.
The comprehensive study offers complete and current financial information for retail jewelers. Survey results are based on 1999 data submitted by over 450 JA members using confidential questionnaires. Respondents were classified as independent high-end, independent middle-range, designer/artist/custom and chain to allow for simple peer comparisons.
The survey found jewelry chains experienced the largest sales growth of 15.6%, and independent middle-range jewelry stores experienced the smallest sales growth at 8.6%. Overall gross margins increased for the first time since 1995, reaching 49.1%. Gross margins were highest in the designer/artist/custom category at 60% and lowest among independent high-end stores at 46.4%. Overall profitability remained nearly the same, climbing 0.2% to 7.3%. Loose diamonds and diamond jewelry remain the top sellers among JA retailers, representing 40% of all sales. Gold jewelry and colored gemstone jewelry also sold well, accounting for 10% and 9% of sales respectively. Platinum jewelry sales, measured for the first time in this survey, accounted for 2% of sales.
Jewelry store owners and managers can use these results and the rest of the data collected in the survey to evaluate company performance by comparing the survey with their balance sheets. Jewelers can also compare their stores based on key performance measures, such as profitability and operating costs, which are analyzed in the survey as well.
The 2000 edition of the Cost of Doing Business Survey is available for purchase by calling JA at (800) 223-0673.
- by Julia M. Duncan