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Retail Bulletin

U.S. Jewelry CPI Falls Again
   The U.S. consumer price index (CPI) for jewelry eased again in April, falling 1 percent year on year to 174.96 points in response to weaker prices for precious metals. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported:
  • The CPI maintained a historically strong trend; April’s reading was the 28th consecutive month of more than 170 points.
  • The CPI for all product categories combined in April rose 1 percent year on year to 231.49 points, which was down just slightly from a record high of 232.77 points in February. 
De Beers Estimates Diamond Jewelry Demand Up
   Consumer demand for diamonds grew by 2 percent to 3 percent in 2012, according to De Beers estimates, representing a considerable drop from the 10 percent rate recorded in the previous two years. The survey measured growth according to polished diamond wholesale prices in U.S. dollars. Among its findings:
  • Sales in China rose between 8 percent and 10 percent and grew 5 percent to 6 percent in the U.S. and Japan. The market in India contracted by 5 percent in dollar terms, largely due to the depreciation of the rupee. 
  • The U.S. remained the largest diamond consumer market with approximately 37 percent of marketshare, down from 42 percent in 2007. 
  • China represented about 11 percent of the market, followed by Japan with 10 percent and India with around 9 percent. 
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U.S. Jewelry Store Sales Rise
   Jewelry store sales in the U.S. rose 10 percent year on year to $2.31 billion in March, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
  • Jewelry store sales remained strong during the first quarter, increasing 8 percent to $6.99 billion compared with the first three months of 2012. 
  • Advanced estimates for sales at U.S. department stores in April reflected a decline of 7 percent year on year at $13 billion. 
  • The International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) measured a 3 percent year-on-year increase in chain-store sales during April, which was in line with the group’s expectations. 
Signet’s Sales Climb
   Signet Jewelers reported that sales rose 10 percent year on year to $993.6 million and profit improved 11 percent to $91.8 million for the first quarter that ended on May 4, 2013.
  • Same-store sale increased 6 percent and ecommerce revenue jumped 41 percent to $31.1 million. 
  • U.S. division sales during the quarter rose 14 percent to $858.6 million, while comparable-store sales increased 8 percent. 
  • Online sales for the U.S. brands jumped 48 percent to $25.6 million.
  • U.K. division sales fell 6 percent at constant-exchange rates and same-store sales declined 2 percent. Online sales rose 15 percent to $5.5 million.
Zale Posts Profit
   The Zale Corporation reported a profit of $5.1 million for the third quarter that ended on April 30, 2013, compared to a loss of $4.5 million in the third quarter of fiscal 2012. Revenue slipped less than 1 percent year on year to $442.7 million.
  • Comparable-store sales rose 2 percent with branded stores, consisting of Zales Jewelers and Zales Outlet, posting a same-store sales increase of 3 percent. 
  • U.S. fine jewelry brands, including Zales branded stores and Gordon’s Jewelers, posted a comparable-store sales increase of 2 percent.
  • Canada-based fine jewelry brands such as Peoples Jewellers and Mappins Jewellers posted a comparable-store sales decrease of 1 percent; however, at constant-exchange rates same-store sales rose 1 percent. Piercing Pagoda experienced a same-store sale increase of 2 percent.
  • For the first nine months of the fiscal year, profit rose to $18 million, compared with a loss of $7.6 million for the comparable period in 2012.
Tiffany & Co. Sales Climb
   Tiffany & Co. reported that worldwide net sales rose 9 percent year on year to $895.5 million and net earnings increased 3 percent to $83.6 million for the first quarter that ended on April 30, 2013.
  • Across the Americas, total sales rose 6 percent to $408 million, while comparable-store sales rose 3 percent. 
  • In Europe, both overall and same-store sales rose 6 percent to $93 million and total sales rose 8 percent on a constant exchange rate basis.
  • In the Asia-Pacific region, sales surged 15 percent by dollar value and rose 14 percent to $223 million cent at constant exchange rates. Same-store sales jumped 9 percent.
Sotheby’s Revenue Down
   Sotheby’s reported a 3 percent year-on-year decrease in revenue at $101.7 million for the first quarter that ended on March 31, 2013, although net auction sales increased 23 percent. The decline was principally due to a lower auction commission margin of 15 percent from 18 percent one year earlier. Sotheby’s recorded a loss of $22.3 million, up from a loss of $10.7 million one year ago. New markets now account for 40 percent of worldwide buying activity at Sotheby’s with very active participation from Latin America and Asia.

Richemont‘s Sales Increase
   Luxury group Richemont reported that sales rose 9 percent year on year to $13 billion (EUR 10.15 billion) for the fiscal year that ended on March 31, 2013. The luxury group confirmed growth across all segments and geographies.
  • Retail sales jumped 11 percent, while wholesale revenue increased 7 percent. Profit surged 30 percent to $2.6 billion (EUR 2.005 billion), which was in line with expectations and largely a result of favorable exchange rates.
  • Jewelry sales rose 13 percent year on year to $6.7 billion (EUR 5.206 billion) with strong sales at Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels. 
  • Specialist watchmaker sales rose 18 percent to $985.8 million (EUR 766 million). The company noted that sales rose despite the continuing strength of the Swiss franc and historically high costs of precious metals and stones during the year. 

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