Rapaport Research Raises Holiday Sales Forecast

November 25, 2003

Rapaport Research Raises Holiday Sales Forecast

Rapaport Research, a global analytical and forecasting consultancy for the jewelry and diamond industry, has raised its jewelry revenue forecast for the 2003 holiday selling season in the United States. In addition, it has released its first-ever holiday revenue forecast for luxury jewelers.

The group now estimates that U.S. jewelry sales will rise by at least 7-8% for the months of November-December, when compared to the same period a year ago. Earlier, the consultancy's holiday forecast had called for a gain of 6-7%.

Rapaport Research is also now estimating that diamond jewelry sales - which represent more than 50% of all jewelry sold during the holiday selling period - could rise by over 8% versus the same period last year.

Finally, the consultancy's forecast for luxury jewelers calls for a revenue increase of at least 10% over the same period last year. This is the first year Rapaport Research has published a sales forecast for U.S. luxury jewelers.

"Virtually all of the fundamental factors fueling jewelry sales are aligned positively this year," says Kenneth Gassman, director of and senior forecaster for Rapaport Research. "In particular, the improving U.S. economy, rising consumer income, and increased wealth levels should have a strong impact on demand for luxury products such as jewelry and diamonds."

Gassman notes that Rapaport Research's extensive jewelry retail network indicates that shopping trends have been very strong during early November. Many luxury goods retailers including high-end jewelers have reported a sharp rise in sales this fall. The Diamond Trading Company, the marketing arm of De Beers, has also allotted a record advertising budget for its holiday ad campaign and this should help fuel consumer demand, too, says Gassman.

Rapaport Research is headquartered in Glen Allen, VA. Director Kenneth Gassman can be reached at (804) 347-2395 for further information. Graphs and tables of this forecast as well as industry background materials are available from Gassman at ken@diamonds.net.

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