But an upbeat mood still prevails.
The INSTORE Jewelers Confidence Index in early February fell back from the record highs achieved around the holiday season, although it indicated jewelers are still mostly upbeat as we begin the march into a new year.
Following on from readings in the mid-60s in December and January, the JCI slipped back to 52 in the first half of February. Note we carried out our survey against a backdrop of a mini meltdown on Wall Street and budgetary uncertainty in Washington. The reading also follows a mixed sales performance by independent jewelers in January. Forty-three percent of the jewelers in our Brain Squad survey group reported sales increases in January compared with the same month in 2017, while 29 percent said sales had declined.
In our most recent confidence survey, 42 percent of the respondents said the short-term outlook for their business had improved compared to 11 percent who said it had deteriorated. Meanwhile, only 17 percent said they had ordered more stock in January compared to the same month in 2017, versus 51 percent who said they’d ordered less. It is these two elements — outlook and orders — that make up the JCI. While jewelers picked up their buying ahead of the 2017 holiday season, the roughly half who are now cutting back on inventory spending marks a return to the trend we saw most of last year — as bullish as jewelers are about their prospects, they are buying less stock.
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