Rapaport Magazine

Consumer Confidence Continues to Inch Up

Retail Bulletin

By Rapaport
The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index moved up another 5.6 points during the month of February 2011 to total 70.4 points, versus 64.8 points in January. The Present Situation Index increased by just over two points to reach 33.4 points in February, while the Expectations Index was up to 95.1 points from the 87.3 posted for January.

Though the measures reflected improvement, consumers’ overall assessment of the current economic climate remained weak. Just 12.4 percent of those surveyed called business conditions “good,” versus 11.3 percent in January, while the percentage who interpreted business conditions as “bad” was flat against last month at 39.6 percent. The number of consumers who responded that jobs are “plentiful” was also essentially flat, rising less than half a point to 4.9 percent, and the percentage describing jobs as “hard to get” was down slightly from 47 percent for January to 45.7 percent in February. The number anticipating conditions will improve in the next six months was also up less than half a point to 24.4 percent. Consumers expecting conditions to decline went from 12.2 percent in January to 10.4 percent in February, while those anticipating fewer available jobs totaled 15.4 percent in February versus 21.2 percent in January.

U.S. Retail on the Rise

The International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) reported a 4.8 percent annual chain-store sales increase for the fiscal year that ended on January 30, 2011. Overall retail sales were also up 3.5 percent for that period.

Neiman Marcus’ total revenue rose 10 percent year on year in January alone to $266 million and by 6 percent to $1.1 million in its second fiscal quarter of 2011 that ended on January 30. Saks Incorporated’s sales edged up 3 percent to $163.6 million during the month and 7 percent to $850.8 million for its fourth fiscal quarter that closed on January 29.

Luxury retailer Nordstrom reported a 4.8 percent year-on-year, same-store sales increase to $607 million for January and a same-store sales gain of 7 percent for the fourth quarter. Macy’s January sales rose 4.6 percent to $1.31 billion, while its fiscal-fourth-quarter sales were up 5 percent to $7.85 billion. J.C.Penney Company’s total sales fell 3.9 percent to $903 million in January.

Online retail sales in the U.S. were also on the upswing in January, rising 11 percent to $43.4 billion, according to comScore Inc., marking the fifth consecutive quarter of positive year-on-year growth and the second quarter of double-digit growth to be recorded during the past year.

The U.S. consumer price index (CPI) for jewelry hit a new high in January at 170.9 points, jumping 8.7 percent against last year and marking the 36th consecutive month for which the jewelry CPI registered over 150 points, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

However, MasterCard Advisors’ SpendingPulse, a macroeconomic report tracking national retail and service sales, cited jewelry as one of the weaker segments for January.

Christie’s Jewelry Sales Set Record

Christie’s International reported record-breaking results for its global jewelry sales during 2010. Sales increased by 56 percent year on year to $426.4 million, representing the highest annual total ever achieved from auctions. Christie’s Americas also reported its best jewelry total ever at $130.5 million. Christie’s Asia, with its flagship Hong Kong auctions, produced the company’s best jewelry sales for the year at $163 million, mostly due to renewed confidence and new buyers in Europe, the U.S. and Asia, especially Mainland China. Leading the 2010 top sellers was the Perfect Pink, a 14.23-carat, rectangular-cut, fancy intense pink diamond ring, which sold for a record $23 million in Hong Kong — the most expensive jewel ever sold at an auction in Asia.

Sotheby’s Auction Hits New High

Jewelry auctions at Sotheby’s in 2010 achieved total sales of $405 million, the highest annual total ever for jewelry sales and a 213 percent increase against 2009. An important milestone set during the year included the sale of a 24.78-carat, fancy intense pink diamond for $46,58,674 at Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewels auction held in Geneva in November, a new auction record for any piece of jewelry or any diamond. The auction also achieved a record sales total of $105 million.

One month earlier, in Hong Kong, Sotheby’s achieved its highest-ever total for a single auction of jewels and jadeite, garnering $54.6 million. Jewelry auctions at Sotheby’s Hong Kong totaled $107 million, more than double the 2009 total.

Blue Nile’s Sales Gain

Blue Nile’s sales grew 11.5 percent year on year to $114.8 million during its fourth quarter that ended on January 2, 2011, while its net income for the quarter rose 13.6 percent to $6.2 million. The company’s international sales increased by 31 percent to $15.3 million and its U.S. sales rose 9 percent to $99.5 million during the period.

The company’s full-year results reflected a net sales increase of 10.2 percent to $332.9 million, while its net income rose 10.5 percent to $14.1 million. Blue Nile’s international sales jumped 30.4 percent to $43.3 million as its U.S. sales edged up 8 percent to $289.6 million. Gross profit totaled $71.9 million for the year, a record high.

LVMH’s Watch & Jewelry Sales Soar

Luxury group LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton recorded a 19 percent year-on-year increase in revenue during fiscal 2010, to $27.7 billion (EUR 20.32 billion) exceeding the $27.3 billion (EUR 20 billion) mark for the first time. Revenue from its watch and jewelry segment grew 29 percent to $1.34 billion (EUR 985 million) for the year, which represented the strongest growth percentage of all categories, although the segment remained fifth in terms of sales. 

Bulgari’s Revenue Jumps

Bulgari reported that its revenue rose by 21 percent to $487 million (EUR 357.8 million) during its fourth quarter that ended on December 31, 2010. The jewelry category was a strong performer, with sales rising 28 percent to $229 million (EUR 166.7 million).

The company’s fiscal 2010 revenue rose 15.4 percent year over year to $1.5 billion (EUR 1.07 billion). Jewelry sales during the fiscal year were up 14 percent to $668 million (EUR 488 million).

The Jewelry Exchange Reports Increase

The Jewelry Exchange reported that its same-store sales rose 15.3 percent year on year in January. The company’s flagship store in Tustin, California posted an overall sales increase of nearly 42 percent. Goldenwest Diamond Corporation owns The Jewelry Exchange and operates The Jewelry Factory and The Jewelry Source.

Bailey Banks & Biddle Taps TD Retail

Bailey Banks & Biddle signed on to TD Retail Card Services’ L.J.C. (luxury, jewelry, class) private-label credit card program. TD Retail Card Services will direct all facets of the program, which was created specifically for independent and small-chain retailers of jewelry and other luxury items.

Bailey Banks & Biddle emerged independently after its parent company, Finlay Enterprises, filed for bankruptcy in 2010 and currently operates in Pennsylvania, Missouri and Texas.

Gitanjali Group’s Revenues Up

Gitanjali Group’s revenues increased 46 percent year on year to $584 million (INR 26.5 billion) and its net profits rose 64 percent to $22 million (INR 1 billion), in the third fiscal quarter that ended on December 31, 2010, as reported to the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE). The company’s diamond sales grew 58 percent to $275 million (INR 12.48 billion), while its jewelry sales were up 37 percent to $330 million (INR 14.99 billion).

Article from the Rapaport Magazine - March 2011. To subscribe click here.

Comment Comment Email Email Print Print Facebook Facebook Twitter Twitter Share Share
Tags: Rapaport
Comments: (0)  Add comment Add Comment
Arrange Comments Last to First