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Jewelry Strong for J.C. Penney, Macy’s

Aug 20, 2019 9:48 AM   By Rapaport News
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RAPAPORT... Two of the top US department stores noted strong jewelry sales in the second fiscal quarter, even as their overall results were disappointing. J.C. Penney and Macy’s both expressed intentions to invest further in improving their jewelry divisions as a means of increasing traffic and sales.

“Our fine-jewelry business continues to deliver strong sales results,” J.C. Penney chief financial officer Bill Wafford said last week on an analyst call transcribed by Seeking Alpha. Comparative-store sales for the division increased, with strength in categories such as modern bride, gold, diamonds and fashion gems, he reported. "Our teams have been working closely with our vendors bringing in newness in diamonds and fashion gems,” Wafford added. 

The company is offering special deals and prices to drive value in the division, J.C. Penney noted.

Jewelry also proved to be one of the best-selling categories at Macy’s. Sales at the company’s six “destination” businesses rose 5% for the quarter, accounting for nearly 40% of total sales. Fine jewelry, men’s tailored and women’s shoes recorded the strongest performances of those businesses, Macy’s CEO Jeff Gennette said on the company’s analyst call.

“All six [key divisions] continue to outperform the balance of the business on market share, return on investment and profitability, and we are putting additional resources behind these six categories to drive growth,” Gennette explained. “These destinations are the point of entry to the Macy’s brand, and we see significant opportunity to drive cross-shopping.”

Both retailers are looking to expand their jewelry offering. 

J.C. Penney will introduce a “styling room” that will showcase top-selling items such as jewelry in an effort to attract customers. The space will be located next to the women’s-apparel department in its stores, and will include digital billboards and mannequins featuring “fresh and trend-right merchandise,” Wafford added.

The two companies separately announced plans to capitalize on the secondhand luxury fashion trend. J.C. Penney will partner with ThredUP, a fashion resale marketplace, in 30 of its stores, while Macy’s will feature the same vendor in 40 of its locations. The retailers initially plan to offer clothing items and accessories through the service.

Macy’s revenue slid 0.5% to $5.55 billion in the second fiscal quarter, which ended August 3, while sales at J.C. Penney dropped 9% to $2.51 billion for the same period.

Image: The jewelry counter inside Macy’s Manhattan store. (Shutterstock)
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Tags: Bill Wafford, JC Penney, jeff gennette, Macy’s, Rapaport News, ThredUP
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