The U.S. Commerce Department’s latest data has revealed a weakness in jewellery sales in the U.S. market.
In February, sales totaled $6.3 billion, which indicates a 0.2 per cent decrease when compared with February 2014. According to industry analyst Ken Gassman’s latest sales update, this marks the fifth consecutive month of “weak” demand in the world’s largest market for jewellery.
While the general year-over-year sales of jewellery were down 2 per cent in October, 0.8 perc ent in November, and 1 per cent in December and January, the decline for specialty jewellers has been more marked. In this market, sales fell 4 per cent in October, 6 per cent in November, 4 per cent in December, 6 per cent in January, and 5 per cent in February.
February’s floundering sales come despite the fact that Valentine’s Day is the third most important selling period of the year for jewellers. This year, those who bought jewellery for this occasion typically chose less expensive fashion jewellery over big-ticket items. This shifted sales from specialty jewellers to retailers including J.C. Penney, Walmart, and Costco.
Gassman says that while the U.S. Commerce Department shows little positive data for jewellers, his Jewelry Research Institute still forecasts that U.S. jewellery sales will increase about 2 per cent year-over-year in 2015 due to a strengthening economy and a rise in household wealth. CJ