In an extensive report, Rapaport spoke to a number of jewelers across the US, gauging how businesses are faring through the COVID-19 pandemic. Although circumstances were different throughout the US, with states deciding independently on how strict they applied lockdown measures, the majority of retailers came up with ways to adapt, through appointments, curbside pickups or even home deliveries. The impact of the global pandemic is hitting jewelry retail sales, but many jewelers seem optimistic.
Beleaguered by the unprecendented challenges now dragging on for nearly a year, luxury brands have started throwing in the proverbial towel on their Russel Street shops in Hong Kong’s bustling Causeway Bay, considered the world’s most expensive shopping street. "Already struggling for survival after months of civil unrest crippled Hong Kong’s economy," writes Pearl Liu for the South China Morning Post, "the final blow for many came this year with the coronavirus pandemic, which killed off any remaining consumer sentiment."
Consumers across Asia are rushing to luxury stores to buy luxury items before an expected price hike. After Louis Vuitton raised prices last week - the third price hike in 2020, many consumers expect other brands like Chanel, Dior and Gucci will follow suit. Higher prices are one strategy to make up for losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Jing Daily reports.
Across Asia, thanks to pent-up demand and the inability for shoppers to travel and buy luxury goods abroad, the luxury market has seen growing in-store traffic and sales.
Daniel Langer, consultant for some of the world's leading luxury brands, in an article in Jing Daily says that despite our intuition - people spend and will spend less on luxury in and after a crisis - the luxury segment is more resilient than others.
The Antwerp World Diamond Centre continues its AWDC Webinar Series this week Friday, April 24 from 12:30-14:00 with a presentation on the "Polished Market: a Q&A with Edahn Golan."
In this webinar, AWDC is having a chat with industry expert Edahn Golan on the current state of the market, what we have learned from previous crises concerning how to manage our business when we are in the midst of one, and advice on how to prepare to reboot your company after COVID-19 has subsided. Mr. Golan will be discussing questions such as
LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton recorded revenue of 10.6 billion euros (11.5 billion dollars) for the first quarter of 2020, down 15 percent compared to the same period in 2019 and down 17 percent on an organic basis. The group says that with these results, LVMH "has proven its ability to be resilient in an economic environment disrupted by a serious health crisis that has led to the closure of stores and manufacturing sites in most countries in recent weeks, as well as the suspension of international travel."
According to Swiss newspaper “Le Temps” the world’s largest luxury watch and jewelry show, Baselworld, is in danger of becoming extinct. The newspaper cites from a leaked letter from angry exhibitors, who are threatening to turn their backs on the fair for good, if they aren’t reimbursed fully for costs already made for this year’s – canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic – edition. According to the article, the exhibitors were offered a financial agreement which they believe is inadequate and they demand a full refund.
U.S.-based Signet Jewelers, 'the world's largest retailer of diamond jewelry', has temporarily closed all of its stores in North America effective March 23, 2020 in response to the continued spread and impact of COVID-19. The company has also declined to issue a guidance for Q1 or for the full year of Fiscal 2021, instead opting to provide an update on first quarter sales trends to date.
The Copenhqgen-based cotume jewelry giant Pandora has announced the temporary closure of all of its owned & operated stores in the U.S., Italy, Germany, France and Spain, and in most other European markets in an effort to limit the spread of the coronavirus. They have additionally temporarily closed many of our stores around the world, along with most of their offices. Office staff is working from home. Pandora employs 28,000 people worldwide.
Diamond jewelry retail sales in the US soared 20% after 9/11. History shows us that after large-scale disasters and economic meltdowns, there is a tendency to spend on diamond jewelry. History has shown us that it will get better after it gets worse.
- Edahn Golan, from his article, "Ruin to Resurrection, the Perpetual Path"
While the rest of the world is tightening measures to control the COVID-19 outbreak, Chinese customers - constituting a whopping third of global luxury industry’s sales and the driving force of global growth in this segment in recent years - are slowly returning to the country’s luxury shopping malls as local quarantine measures are eased.
Hong Kong's leading diamond jewelry retailer Chow Tai Fook unexpected released key unaudited data for the two months ended 29 February 2020, revealing that sales at all points of sale in Mainland China fell 42 percent while those in Hong Kong and Macau fell 60 percent in the first two months of 2020. The jeweler attributes the decline to the temporary shutdown of "the majority" of its stores in China and Hong Kong due to the Covid-19 outbreak.
The coronavirus is creating havoc to public life and economic markets across the globe, but its rapid growth in Iran has countries across the Gulf region becoming increasingly concerned. Multiple media outlets are reporting that the United Arab Emirates has called on residents to avoid cross-border travel and has imposed quarantine restrictions to limit the spread of the deadly coronavirus, a measure the Financial Times is calling it “a blow to the state’s position as a global business hub.”
The cautious optimism that had returned to the Antwerp diamond industry following the first month of 2020 was short-lived, as the explosive spread of the coronavirus COVID-19 in February effectively closed eastern markets and caused great uncertainty across the global diamond trade. Antwerp's rough-diamond trade still enjoyed the boost from the miners' strong January sales, but the warning signs appeared there as well - particularly toward the end of the month.
Retail sales across all products in Hong Kong took a major downturn in January 2020, falling by more than 21% and marking the12th consecutive month of falling sales. Earnings in the category jewelry, watches, clocks and other valuable gifts were hit the hardest, falling 42% year-on-year to US$632 million (HK$4.92 billion).
Until now, De Beers' laboratory-grown diamond jewelry brand Lightbox has issued no grading reports about its diamonds, enabling it to keep its pricing is straightforward ($800 a carat, $400 for a half carat, $200 for a quarter carat). De Beers says it approach the product in this way because man-made stones are mass-produced and do not deserve the individual attention that mined diamonds get.
The government of South Korea on December 27, 2019 agreed to eliminate its 5% import tax on loose polished diamonds, effectively opening up the South Korean market to new sources of polished diamonds. Yesterday, the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MOEF) confirmed that Diamond has been designated as a specific good that will be exempted from customs duties pending completion of the final legislative approvals. The abolishment of the import tax is expected to go into effect on April 1.
Following the temporary closure of their stores in 'affected regions' of mainland China, Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group has temporarily closed around 40 stores in Hong Kong and Macao in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19 or nCoV2019 (2019 novel coronavirus)) epidemic, a spokesperson said Monday. The Hong Kong-based jewelry chain operator also will shorten operating hours at its remaining stores in the two cities. These shops will close by 7 p.m. local time until further notice.
Coming off a strong holiday season, Americans are expected to set another record for Valentine’s Day spending this year as they continue to widen the range of those they’re buying for, according to the annual survey by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics. Shoppers plan to spend $5.8 billion on jewelry, which 21 percent of Americans plan to give to their loved ones, friends and pets.
Tiffany & Co. shareholders voted in favor of the jeweler’s acquisition by LVMH during a meeting held on February 4 at its Fifth Avenue headquarters, the companies announced in separate press releases. LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, the world’s largest luxury goods company, announced on November 25, 2019 that it had reached an agreement to buy the jeweler Tiffany & Company in a $16.2 billion deal, the largest ever in the luxury sector. According to the agreement, LVMH will acquire Tiffany, the global luxury jeweler, for $135 per share in cash.
Hong Kong's retail sales of jewelry and luxury items limped to the end an abysmal 2019, with December 2019 sales falling nearly 37% short of December 2018 earnings, as the region closed the year more than 22% lower than the year prior. The impact of months of social unrest has been widely documented, as it crippled consumer sentiment and kept tourists away from the commercial hub.
In a wide-ranging keynote address at the African Mining Indaba taking place this week in Cape Town, Anglo American CEO Mark Cutifani laid out his vision for the mining industry and the steps it must take to "connect the future of mining with emerging and next-generation societal values. These are the values of increased transparency, responsible technological innovation, sustainability and shared prosperity, all of which are emergent in our world and are shaping a very different future society."
Swiss luxury jeweler de Grisogono, whose long-alleged history of shady deals with Angola was recently exposed by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and 36 media partners, has filed for bankruptcy in Geneva, according to multiple news outlets. The jeweler is owned in part by the husband of Isabel dos Santos, the billionaire daughter of former president José Eduardo dos Santos, who is facing allegations of having pilfered Angolan state-owned companies. The company owes more than 1.4 million francs to its Swiss suppliers and is facing insolvency.
The United Kingdom has become one of a handful of nations to take proactive steps to protect diamond jewelry buyers from confusing sales labeling, thanks to a collaboration between the National Association of Jewellers (NAJ) and UK Trading Standards. The NAJ has announced a guide for correctly labeling different diamond jewelry types accepted by Trading Standards to stop customers feeling duped.
Richemont Group's sales in Q3 (the three month period ended 31 December 2019) increased by 4%, with growth in all regions except Japan, the luxury goods group announced last week. The Jewellery Maisons division recorded a 6% increase year-over-year at constant exchange rates versus the prior period and 9% at actual exchange rates. Sales in Europe during the period grew by 9% to €1.26 billion ($1.40 billion) benefiting from favourable comparative numbers and strong sales in most markets. European sales for the nine months of the fiscal year have risen 8% to €3.5 billion ($3.9).
Jewelry sales during the U.S. holiday season showed a modest increased compared to 2018, with higher-end independent jewelers performing particularly well, according to several surveys. Online buying surged, while foot traffic in retail stores slowed. The Mastercard SpendingPulse report shows that the jewelry sector experienced 1.8 percent growth in total retail sales, with online sales growing 8.8 percent – supporting eCommerce strength.
Chow Tai Fook, Hong Kong's leading diamond-jewelry retailer and the second largest jeweler in the world by market value after Tiffany & Co., intends to about 15 of its 86 stores in Hong Kong as anti-China protests in the city weigh on the retail market and deter tourists, according to multiple media outlets. Indications that it rather intends to focus on growing its presence in the mainland China market suggests the slump in retail sales is not about the reverse soon.
Forevermark, the diamond brand from De Beers Group, recently unveiled the first boutique in its Next Generation Retail Concept, located within renowned jewellery department store, Caibai in Beijing, the company writes. They say that the the newly renovated 100 square metre boutique "breaks away from the traditional across-the-counter service, inviting consumers to discover the world of Forevermark through an immersive, interactive and informative experience," adding that this is the first time Forevermark has offered this kind of consumer experience within one of its retail partners.
The Titan Company announced in its Q3 FY ’20 update that jewelry sales in December were were better than expected despite “the general economic slowdown in the economy leading to poor consumer sentimenthit." The company said its revenue growth was "possibly due to a good wedding season" and that the jewelry industry as a whole witnessed “reasonable growth” in the festive Diwali season this year. The company itself did better, the statement reads, while also gaining market share.
Retail sales in Hong Kong in general, and sales of luxury items and jewelry in particular, continued to fall sharply in November as local social unrest turned extremely violent, causing very severe disruptions to tourism- and consumption-related activities and further dampening consumption sentiment, writes the Census and Statistics Department of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.
Tiffany & Co. announced on Thursday Dec. 26 that its overall global sales during the holiday shopping season (from November 1 through Christmas Eve) rose about 1% to 3% compared with the same period last year, with the largest contribution coming from China, Europe and a recovery in the Americas. Mainland China drove the business during the holiday period, with Tiffany seeing a double-digit sales increase there, offset by declines in Hong Kong.
Alrosa, Tencent and Everledger are launching a new WeChat Mini Program e-commerce solution for Chinese retailers. The pilot will employ blockchain technology to enable full traceability of diamonds from mine to consumer, providing full transparency of their origin, characteristics and ownership history.
Based on research from Rob Bates of JCK Magazine, the United States' largest retailer of diamond jewelry, Signet Jewelers, is now selling laboratory-grown diamonds at all its major U.S. jewelry banners. These include Kay, Jared and Zales, as well as their online site James Allen, which was already selling them. David Bouffard, Vice President, Corporate Affairs, told Bates that the sythetic diamonds will be available in bridal as well as fashion jewelry. Jared is selling loose lab-grown diamonds and ring settings as part of its Chosen collection.
Forevermark, the diamond brand from De Beers Group, today announced it will launch in five jewelry stores in Belgium through a partnership with Gautam Diamonds. Forevermark jewelry will be available in Gautam stores in the historic Grand Place/Grote Markt and Galerie de la Reine/Koninginnegalerij in the city, as well as in three Antwerp Diamonds by Gautam stores in Brussels Airport.
Luxury jeweler Tiffany & Co fell short of investor expectations for profit and sales during the third quarter ended Oct. 31 2019, as weak demand in the U.S. and retail disruption in Hong Kong offset growth elsewhere in China. Tiffany's business in the Americas and Europe has struggled to generate growth in recent years as price-conscious younger customers gravitate to lower-priced competitors like Signet Jewelers - which last week released “better-than-expected” results for the third quarter of fiscal year 2020.
Barely a week after Jeweller Magazine reported Michael Hill (MHI), the jewelry retailer operating 312 stores in Australia, New Zealand, Canada as well as selling jewelry online, made misleading claims in its marketing by describing their lab-grown diamonds using terms as “real”, “genuine” and “authentic”, the company has changed its messaging.
Hong Kong’s retail sales, and particulaly those of jewelry and other luxury items, took a nosedive in September as the protests that have plagued the city since June have kept tourists away and led to a decline in consumer spending. According to a press release and figures from the Census and Statistics Department of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, the overall value of retail sales in September 2019 decreased by 18.3% to an estimated HKD29.9 billion (US$3.8 billion) compared with the same month in 2018.
Tiffany & Co. has received a takeover approach from LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, which is seeking to add the iconic U.S. jeweler to its portfolio of upscale brands. The French company sent Tiffany officials a letter in the past couple of weeks outlining an all-cash takeover bid of about $120 a share, according to people familiar with the matter. That would value Tiffany at close to $14.5 billion, and represents a 22% premium over the stock’s closing price on Friday, according to the Financial Times.
Last week, Tiffany & Co. found itself at the center of a social media firestorm after posting an image on Twitter of a woman covering one eye with her hand, leading to accusations that the jeweller supports the Hong Kong protesters and prompting Tiffany's to remove the post. Angry Chinese consumers believed it deliberately evoked a symbolic pose adopted by Hong Kong’s pro-democracy demonstrators after a woman was shot in the eye with what protesters say was a police beanbag round during violent clashes with police. Her image later popped up in many posters and memes.
Beginning this month, De Beers' lab-grown diamond brand Lightbox Jewelry will be available at two select Bloomingdale’s department stores (one in N.Y., one in San Francisco) and 30 Reeds Jewelers stores in a trial run to see whether their product and value proposal perform in traditional bricks-and-mortar retail environments, reports Forbes magazine. Until now, the only way to purchase Lightbox fashion jewelry was through its website or through an occasional pop-up promotion.
Forevermark, the diamond brand from the De Beers Group, has launched its latest consumer campaign, #TrustForevermark, in India, aiming to help prospective buyers allay their doubts, fears and questions that arise when buying diamonds, according to a Forevermark press release. Forevermark is rolling out a multi-media campaign including events, PR, digital, print, television, radio, outdoor and social media content. The #TrustForevermark campaign the brand's largest yet in India and will be rolled out nationally over the next three months targeting nine Tier I and 41 Tier II cities.
Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group (CTF) has reported higher sales and continuing expansion of their POS (points of sale) during Q1 FY 2020 (three months ended 30 June 2019), as sales in mainland China stores continued to grow at a strong rate while those in Hong Kong and Macau declined for the second time in the past three quarters. Retail sales grew by 24% in mainland China during the period, with same-store sales (SSS) improving by 11%, the jeweler reported. Retail revenues in Hong Kong and Macau fell by 6%, while SSS dropped further, down 11%.
The impact from the Hong Kong protests is spreading to global luxury retailers, with jewelry - including Swiss watches - taking a hit as shoppers and big-spending travelers stay away. Unrest has forced many stores to close and sparked widespread social disruption. Luxury brand Richemont - which owns several of the world's leading luxury goods companies including Cartier, Piaget, Van Cleef & Arpels and Jaeger-LeCoultre - is the latest firm to say its business is being impacted by the ongoing protests.
Hong Kong’s retail sales are expected to decline by 5 percent to HK$460 billion (US$59 billion) for the full year, dragged down by economic uncertainty, social unrest and a decline in mainland Chinese tourists, according to international advisory firm PriceWaterCoopers (PwC). The estimate is a downgrade from its earlier forecast of a 3 percent drop in sales, reflecting a weaker outlook, as government statistics showed first-quarter retail sales falling 2 per cent compared to the same period last year, according to PwC’s Global Consumer Insights Survey 2019 report,
Seattle-based online jewelry retailer Blue Nile, which cleared about $500 million in revenue last year, has place an embargo on Zimbabwean diamonds over reports of human rights abuses in the Marange district, several Zimbabwe news outlets are reporting.
The global personal luxury goods market grew by 6% in 2018, reaching €260 billion (more than $290 billion) in 2018, with similar growth forecasted for 2019, reports leading consultancy Bain & Co. in its “Bain Luxury Goods Worldwide Market Study, Spring 2019”. The strong growth, equivalent to that in 2017, was driven primarily by the acceleration in domestic spending of mainland Chinese consumers and an increase in European tourism. Bain & Co.
Sarine Technologies earlier this year rolled out its Sarine Diamond Journey provenance tracking program - following each stage of a diamond's travels from rough stone to polished diamond - and has now announced a Partners program comprising select diamond manufacturers. The initial manufacturers selected for the program will be able to supply goods meeting the retailers' criteria for transparent sourcing.
Hong Kong based jewelry retail and bellwether for the Chinese market Chow Tai Fook Group (CTF) has announced that its sales grew 13% to $8.5 billion (HK$66,661 million) for the year ending March 31 (FY2019), citing increased purchases of gold jewelry and an expansion of the company’s retail network in China. Retail sales in Mainland China rose by 8% to $3.88 billion, while revenue from Hong Kong and Macau increased 12% to $2.94 billion.
Signet Jewelers reported a decline in revenue during the first quarter of fiscal 2020 (ended May 4), as sales fell at all their banner stores except for Piercing Pagoda - the ear piercing and gold and sterling silver shop with roughly 780 kiosks in shopping malls across the United States and Puerto Rico - which gained 13.5%. Ecommerce sales also increased 5.3% year over year to $154.3 million.
Is the goal of Lightbox to lower the price of lab-growns?
No ... the strategic aim is to position the category of product in a sustainable, value-adding way, which is different than a natural diamond’s value proposition. As a result, prices have come down. It’s just the laws of economics. As Chinese production [of LGDs] builds, and you have a technology curve that drops the price, every time you double production, the prices will come down, and they are already dropping pretty rapidly. This should be a cost-plus business, not a rarity business. The price declines are not an end in themselves, but they are what the price should be if you are going to be honest and fair to consumers.
- Steven Lussier, Chair of De Beers consumer products division & DPA, interview with JCK's Rob Bates
Russian diamond miner Alrosa unveiled at JCK Las Vegas the latest contribution to the diamond tracking trend, creating a place-of-origin program that will provide consumers and traders with in-depth provenance information, complete with a personalized video. The company said it will soon launch a program in which an 'electronic passport' will accompany a diamond, providing information about the physical characteristics of the diamond as well as its age, the place and date of extraction, when and where it was cut, and the name and background of the craftsperson that fashioned the stone.
Luxury group Richemont, owner of the Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels jewelry brands, recorded a 10% rise in jewelry and watch sales for the year ended 31 March 2019. Jewelry sales saw progression in all regions and in all channels, with double digit increases in Asia Pacific - particularly in China - and the Americas, while watch sales increased in most regions with double-digit growth in retail, reflecting strong client demand. Jewelry and watches represent Richemont's two largest product lines at 36% and 35% of group sales, respectively.
Leading Hong Kong jeweler Chow Tai Fook is expanding in North America, this week announcing the establishment of a "business hub" in Boston to supply products and services - jewelry and technology - on a wholesale basis to US retailers. Chow Tai Fook North America (CTFNA) says it "will offer customized, specialty collections in the diamond and fine jewelry segments, as well as private label offerings, to address the evolving needs of jewelry consumers." CTFNA, which owns diamond jewelry brands Hearts on Fire and Mémoire, recently moved Hearts On Fire President Caryl Capeci into the role of
The Guangzhou Diamond Exchange (GZDE) last week signed strategic cooperation agreements with China’s major laboratory-grown diamond suppliers, designer associations and other partners to jointly develop and promote LGDs, with a particular focus on design and fashion. The GZDE held a forum entitled “Discover the Magic of Lab-Grown Diamonds” during the 2019 China International Gold, Jewellery & Gem Fair – Shenzhen (Shenzhen Jewellery Fair), with a view to finding greater commercial application.
The Watches & Jewelry business group of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton recorded revenue growth in the first quarter of 2019, driven by the performance of its jewelry, though the group lagged behind other product categories. Bvlgari is said to have "made strong progress" in its own stores.
The Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC) has appointed Iris Van der Veken (pictured) as its executive director, the group announced in a statement. Van der Veken is the first woman to become the organisation’s Executive Director and replaces Andrew Bone who was appointed in June 2015. Bone said last September that he was planning to step down from the post he had held for four years.
Signet Jewelers, North America's largest retail chain for diamond jewelry, endured an uninspiring fourth quarter as weak holiday sales weighed down revenues, sending the jewelry group to a combined 6% loss in Q4 and a 0.1% loss on Fiscal Year 2019. Signet's total Q4 sales (in the 13 weeks ended February 2, 2019) were $2.15 billion, down $138.4 million or 6.0% on a reported basis and 5.4% on a constant currency basis.
The Diamond Producers Association (DPA) has launched a new e-learning program for diamond retailers, entitled “Behind the Brilliance of Diamonds.” Developed to help all US retailers, the hour-long program - split into 3 informative modules – offers educational material and quizzes, going beyond the 4Cs to highlight the intangible value of natural diamonds.
After a small rise in January, export growth in the watch industry gained momentum in February, according to figures from the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry. The industry exported goods worth the equivalent of CHF 1.8 billion francs ($1.8 billion), up 3.4% from February 2018. However, a 58 percent surge in shipments to the U.K. in February accounted for 80% of the increase worldwide and is explained by stockpiling ahead of Brexit. In the first two months of the year, the U.K. imported 242 million Swiss francs ($242 million) of timepieces from Switzerland.
Hong Kong’s retail sales of jewelry, watches and other valuables in January 2019 were up 4.7% year-on-year after falling by 5% in December, according to statistics released by the HK government, as increased tourism from the Mainland and early Lunar New Year shopping lifted overall retail sales. The Hong Kong Tourism Board reported that January tourist arrivals rose to 6.78 million, up 27% from January last year, with the number of visitors from the Mainland - good for more than 80% of the total visitors - increasing by 35%.