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U.S. Jewelry & Watch Sales +3% to $6B

Boruchow: Signet Restrains Discounting

Aug 5, 2014 4:53 PM   By Jeff Miller
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RAPAPORT... U.S. jewelry and watch sales together rose 3.4 percent year on year in June, according to preliminary government calculations. Sector growth was also revised lower for the first six months of the year with low single-digit increases for January, February, March and April and a 3.7 percent increase for May. Specifically in June, jewelry sales rose 3.3 percent to $4.886 billion, while watch sales rose 3.6 percent to $666.3 million, according to Rapaport News calculations.

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jewelry, watch sales

Jewelry sales for the first six months of 2014 have risen 2.3 percent year on year to $30.323 billion, while watch sales rose 1.4 percent to $4.134 billion.

The government also revised personal consumption expenditures "by product type" during July, which ultimately narrowed the rate of growth for the jewelry sector dating back to January 2012 and affected annual totals for the past two years. The jewelry and watch sector total in 2012 rose 5 percent year on year with jewelry  sales of $64.762 billion, according Rapaport News calculations, and watch sales of $8.831 billion. In 2013, the sector experienced a 5.7 percent increase with jewelry sales of  $68.428 billion and watch sales of $9.331 billion, according to our calculations.

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Sterne Agee's analyst Ike Boruchow observed that specialty retailers  experienced choppy sales trends in the month of June.  "Our store work and channel checks suggest an uneven sales month, potentially driven by cooler weather and lack of 'must-have' items," he wrote in a note to clients. "During the month, 49 percent of our weekly promotional observations showed greater discounting year-over-year, while only 24 percent of observations were less promotional than last year, similar to June's 48 percent and 20 percent breakdown." The most restrained  discounting was observed at Signet Jeweler's  Kay brand, while Fossil stores did not repeat a coupon that was sent to customers a year ago, according to Boruchow. Looking ahead, Stern Agee anticipates special retailers to experience a 2 percent to 3 percent comparable-store sales increase.

Advanced government sales estimates for department stores in June fell 0.9 percent to $13.233 billion. The sector experienced a sales decline of 1.1 percent in May to $13.894 billion. However, advance estimates of all U.S. retail and food services sales in June increased 4.3 percent year on year to $439.9 billion. Retail trade sales rose 4.1 percent and nonstore retail sales increased 8.1 percent in June. 

Jack Kleinhenz, the chief economist for the National Retail Federation (NRF), calculated June's retail sales,  excluding automobiles, gas stations and restaurants, to have increased 0.5 percent seasonally adjusted month-to-month and 3.9 percent unadjusted year-over-year.

Kleinhenz stated that the increase reinforced the strength of consumer confidence and upward revisions for April and May have provided positive signs of momentum for second quarter growth, following a dismal first quarter.

Preliminary chain-store sales data for July indicated that comparable-store sales rose 4.1 percent year on year, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) and Goldman Sachs.   Michael Niemira, ICSC's research leader, said,  “There were 12 states that had a sales tax holiday during the week, which helped propel back-to-school sales. As a result, I expect sales for July to increase by better than 4 percent.”

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Tags: data, diamonds, Jeff Miller, Jewelry, monthly, retail, sales, sterne agee, watch, watches
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