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

Jul 15, 2014 10:56 AM   By Jeff Miller
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RAPAPORT... U.S. jewelry store sales rose 6 percent year on year to $3.12 billion in May. As reported earlier on Rapaport News, jewelry and watch sales from all retail sources increased 5.6 percent to $7.192 billion in May, although that wider industry sales measure is subject to revisions.

Jewelry store sales for the first five months of 2014 have risen 4.6 percent year on year to $12.951 billion, while total jewelry and watch sales have increased 3.4 percent to $29.95 billion, according to preliminary calculations.

Meanwhile, advanced 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.  jewelry stores

Sterne Agee's chief economist, Lindsey Piegza, defined June's retail sales figures as "disappointing,"  falling short of the median month-to-month forecast by Bloomberg of a gain of 0.6 percent. "Since a 1.5 percent rise in March, retail sales have continuously lost momentum, up 0.6 percent in April followed by a 0.5 percent rise in May and now just plus 0.2 percent to end the quarter," she said.

"Since the short-lived rebound at the end of the first quarter, retail sales have shown little indication of sustainable momentum. While still positive, monthly gains in spending have weakened to just a fraction of the gains seen in February and March, pulling the annual gain down to nearly half of the pace seen just a year or two ago," Piegza wrote in a note to clients.

Sterne Agee concluded that since U.S. job gains are dominated by part-time, temporary and low-wage employment, wage pressures are virtually nonexistent, offering the consumer no additional spending power.

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.

Consumer spending in June provided a 5.2 percent year on year boost to building material, garden equipment and supplies, while clothing  accessories stores improved 1.4 percent. Electronics and appliance stores sales rose 0.8 percent, furniture and home furnishing stores increased 2.2 percent, general merchandise stores improved 2.6 percent and health and personal care stores jumped 8.9 percent. However, sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores sales dropped 3.7 percent, according to the NRF.

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Tags: analysts, Jeff Miller, Jewelry, june, may, NRF, retail sales, sales, sterne agee, stores, watches
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