Rapaport Magazine

Retail Bulletin

U.S. Jewelry CPI Inches Up

   The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the U.S. consumer price index (CPI) for jewelry rose 1 percent year on year to 178.73 points in June, marking the first notable increase since September 2012. The jewelry CPI has fallen 2 percent for the first half of 2013, primarily as a result of lower prices for gold and platinum. It reached a record 183 points in January 2012.

  • June’s CPI still maintained a historically strong trend, registering the 30th consecutive month of more than 170 points.
  • The CPI for all product categories combined jumped 2 percent year on year to 232.94 points, which was a record high. The previous index record was 232.77 points posted in February.

U.S. Jewelry Store Sales Climb

   U.S. jewelry store sales jumped 8 percent year on year in the month of May to $3.01 billion. Excluding the month of December, historically the highest monthly total for jewelry sales, May’s figure was the largest month to date for any previous January through November total.

  • U.S. jewelry store sales for the January through May cycle have improved 11 percent to $12.66 billion.
  • Advanced estimates for retail in June reflected poor performance at department stores, where sales plunged 6 percent year on year to $13.6 billion.
  • U.S. chain-store sales posted a gain of 4 percent in June, which was better than expected, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), which anticipates a similar improvement for July with chain-store sales increasing between 3 percent and 4 percent.
  • The National Retail Federation (NRF) reported that June’s retail sales, excluding automobiles, gas stations and restaurants, increased 3 percent unadjusted year over year. The group noted that consumer spending and retail sales ended the second quarter on a soft note, indicating that economic growth and acceleration has weakened.


U.S. Consumer Confidence Levels Off

   U.S. consumer confidence has leveled off in recent weeks, according to the Gallup Organization, as signs from the nation’s economy turn mixed compared with early June. However, the group’s Economic Confidence Index noted that consumer confidence remains at a relatively higher level compared with the past five years.

  • Gallup reported that the economic outlook has worsened since late May and early June, falling by ten points. Overall, the index was at negative nine points for the week that ended on July 7, 2013. The index reached a five-year weekly high in late May at negative three points.
  • Gallup concluded that volatility in U.S. stock prices and a stubborn unemployment rate are holding the index back. For the most recent week, 45 percent of consumers said that the economy is getting better and 51 percent felt that it is getting worse, for a net economic outlook score of negative six.


Zale Plans to Issue Credit Card

   The Zale Corporation signed a new, multiyear private-label credit card program agreement with Alliance Data Systems Corporation. Under the terms of the agreement, Alliance Data, through its Comenity Capital Bank (CCB) subsidiary, will provide private-label credit cards to customers of Zale in the U.S., beginning no later than October 1, 2015, following the scheduled expiration of Zale’s current U.S. private-label credit card agreement on September 30, 2015.

   Alliance Data will provide marketing and database capabilities, analytics and a suite of omnichannel marketing tools designed to generate sales and extend brand affinity. It will also create a portfolio of tablet and mobile marketing solutions for fine jewelry to optimize cardholder acquisition and retention.


Birks & Mayors Sales Drop

   Birks & Mayors Inc. reported that revenue fell 3 percent year on year to $292.8 million for the fiscal year that ended on March 30, 2013. Profit rose to $1.5 million.

  • Same-store sales rose 4 percent. Comparable-store sales in Canada increased 7 percent during the fiscal year and rose 2 percent for the company’s U.S. operations.
  • The retail jeweler closed 11 underperforming locations, resulting in a drop in sales of $7.3 million.

— *Additional reporting provided by Acquire Media.

Article from the Rapaport Magazine - August 2013. To subscribe click here.

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