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U.S. Jewelry & Watch Sales +5% in August

Sector Growth +3% to $46B in First Eight Months

Sep 29, 2014 10:30 AM   By Jeff Miller
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RAPAPORT... U.S. jewelry and watch sector sales from all retail channels, including jewelry stores and department stores, increased 4.9 percent year on year in August, according to preliminary government estimates. Meanwhile, the consumer price index (CPI) for jewelry in August fell 4.7 percent, while the CPI for watches rose 4.5 percent. (Read more after the chart.)

jewelry sales august

Jewelry sales, independent of watches, in August increased 4.8 percent year on year to $4.94 billion, according to Rapaport News estimates. The increase was similarly strong to July's rate of growth of 5 percent. Jewelry sales for the first eight months of the year have risen 2.8 percent to $40.198 billion, as measured by Rapaport News. By comparison, jewelry store sales alone for just the first seven months of the year have shown stronger growth than the sector, as a whole, and improved 4.8 percent to $17.704 billion.  (Read more after the chart.)

watches, sales

U.S. sales of watches in August improved 5.8 percent to $673.6 million, helping to boost the year-to-date total by 3.7 percent  to $5.476 billion, according to Rapaport News calculations. Overall, the U.S. jewelry and watch sector combined recorded a 2.9 percent year on year improvement in sales between January and August at $45.68 billion.

Advanced government estimates for sales at U.S. department stores in August, meanwhile, continued to show a  slow and steady decline and dropped 1.5 percent year on year to $14.028 billion. However,  retail and food sales during the month rose 5 percent to $444.4 billion.  Retail trade sales rose 4.8 percent. 

U.S. chain-store sales in August increased 5.2 percent on a same-store sales basis, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), primarily due to back-to-school spending.

Sterne Agee's chief economist, Lindsey Piegza, concluded that U.S. consumers remained under pressure to spend in August due to lackluster income growth. On a three-month  annualized basis, consumer spending growth has slowed from 4.2 percent in June to  3.8 percent in August, the savings rate has fallen two-tenths of a percentage point, and while lower gas prices are helping to line consumers' pockets, the modest pace of spending growth  is far below what is needed or expected to absorb the elevated levels of product production in the past few months, Piegza wrote in a note to clients.

"Already inventory to sales ratios are rising noticeably, suggesting an eventual cooling off in manufacturing activity if consumer spending is not ratcheted up significantly, and soon," Piegza said.

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Tags: analysis, Consumer Spending, department stores, diamonds, Jeff Miller, Jewelry, retail, sales, store, watch
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