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.
The Diamond Producers Association (DPA) yesterday announced the third wave of the Real is Rare, Real is a Diamond campaign. Entitled ‘For Me, From Me’, the campaign is inspired by the natural diamond industry’s strongest growth engine, women self-purchase, which today represents one-third of all diamond jewelry sales in the US, a $43 billion diamond market that grew +4% in 2017, according to De Beers Group data. The $10 million–$15 million campaign will include digital, print, television, and out-of-home components. Its videos will debut during E!’s Oscar coverage on February 24.
Holiday retail sales in the U.S. during 2018 grew a lower-than-expected 2.9 percent over the same period in 2017, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF), falling short of their forecast that holiday sales would grow between 4.3 percent and 4.8 percent. From November 1 through December 31 reached $707.5 billion, according to figures from the Commerce Department, whose results were delayed by nearly a month because of the recent government shutdown.
The average expenditure on an engagement ring in the U.S. stayed flat in 2018 at $3,388, fitting the new pattern of economizing on the big day and a slight shift away from including an engagement ring, according to a survey from The Wedding Report. The survey concluded that the average cost of a wedding in the U.S. declined by 4%, from $25,764 in 2017 to $24,723 in 2018.
Americans are expected to spend a record amount on Valentine’s Day this year despite a years-long decrease in the percentage of people celebrating the holiday, according to the annual survey released today by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Prosper Insights & Analytics. Of the estimated $20.7 billion the NRF expects US consumers to spend on the holiday, almost $4 billion will be on jewelry, putting it at the top of the list, despite the fact that only 18% of people surveyed are planning to gift jewelry (26% men, 9% women).
In 2014, I wrote that the lab-grown diamond industry was out-promoting the natural. That is even more pronounced now. I don’t get many pitches from natural diamond companies. And some of the pitches I do get are kind of dull. By contrast, I get at least two or three pitches on lab-grown diamonds a week. My Facebook feed is inundated with ads for lab-grown companies. The man-made segment claims only a single-digit percentage of the market, but it appears to be doing an outsized percentage of the marketing ...
A quick comparison of retail prices show a price difference [between LGDs & naturals] of 20-40%, depending on the specific goods and the retailers’ branding, market positioning, etc. Wholesale prices behave very differently. In the wholesale market diamonds are priced as a commodity ... a much more accurate way of measuring price changes over time. Polished wholesale prices of LGDs are 50-85% lower than those of natural diamonds ... the smaller the goods, the larger the price difference. On average, 1-ct.
Signet Jewelers, the United States' largest retailer of diamond jewelry, announced its same-store sales fell 1.3% to $1.84 billion during the "Holiday Season" (the 9 weeks ended January 5, 2019) as the company failed to get enough demand from its legacy product lines and enough traffic in their stores during key weeks in December. For the current quarter ending Feb. 2, it now expects same-store sales to be down 1.6% to $2.5%.
One of the bellwether jewelry brands and the largest jeweler in China, Chow Tai Fook, has reported that same-store-sales of gem-set jewelry in Q4 2018 declined by 5% in mainland China and 8% in Hong Kong and Macau “amid an uncertain macroeconomic environment.” This marks the first quarterly decline in two years for the company despite China’s lowering of its jewelry import tax by an average of 20.7 percent last summer, which was expected to bolster sales.
Signet Jewelers' online diamond bridal jewelry retailer JamesAllen.com has officially opened its new concept retail store in Georgetown, Washington DC. The brick-and-mortar location is a first for the online retailer, and is intended to lure and engage consumers by encouraging them to interact with the product as well as their staff. The initiative launches Signet's effort to draw traffic to their digital platform while tapping into the "immersive" experiential aspect shopping, a combination favored particularly by the younger generations.
53 million Americans plan to buy a diamond between Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day. 21% (1-in-5) Americans plan to purchase a diamond between Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day, with men and millennials among the most likely to be in the market for a diamond this holiday season. 35% of millennials plan to purchase a diamond, and more than 1-in-10 plan to buy a diamond engagement ring (13%), while 27% of men plan to purchase a diamond and 11% plan to buy an engagement ring.
- Diamond Producers Association, findings from a recent survey.
Tiffany & Co's worldwide net sales increased 4% to $1.0 billion in the third quarter, with higher spending by local customers noted across the board, but a decline in purchases by Chinese tourists in the United States and Hong Kong put a dent in the jeweler’s Q3 results. The stock market took notice, as shares of Tiffany & Co. plunged 12 percent following their publication of the results, as industry analysts had been anticipating better results.
The card game company Cards Against Humanity has a long history of pulling Black Friday stunts, writes Laura Hudson for The Verge. "This year, Cards Against Humanity has decided to take its disdain for the capitalistic holiday to an absurd new extreme with a 99 percent off sale on a rotating series of expensive and spectacularly bizarre items," she writes. “Every ten minutes, a new deal will go live on this page," reads the official website. "Don’t be frightened by the deals.
The Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) and Alibaba Group announced today that they have entered an exclusive partnership to offer Antwerp certified diamonds directly to Chinese consumers via Alibaba’s B2C marketplace, Tmall. The cooperation agreement was signed in the framework of the first China International Import Expo (CIEE), which is being held this week in Shanghai.
Richline Group, a wholly owned subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, announced that it is partnering with both JCPenney and Macy’s to introduce its new jewelry brand, Grown With Love, Lab Grown Diamonds this holiday season. As JCK reports, the line will include fashion as well as bridal components. "The Macy’s line will include stones up to 3 cts., while the J.C. Penney line tops off at around 1.5 cts.
Chow Tai Fook has announced its partnership with native New York designer Vera Wang on a fine jewelry collection launching October 19, 2018 in Mainland China. "Bringing together the foremost Chinese-American designer in the fashion industry and the renowned fine jewelry company in Greater China," the announcement reads, the new collection will "cater to the modern Chinese bride, who has begun to incorporate diamond jewelry into traditional engagements," moving beyond the traditional gold and jade usually worn by brides in China.
Amazon's filing for a trademark, "For Keeps by Amazon", makes it appear likely that the e-tail giant might be on the verge of launching a new jewelry brand. According to a filing with the US Patent and Trademark Office on September 19, the patent is for “online retail sales of jewelry, namely precious metals and their alloys and goods in precious metals or coated therewith."
Last week, the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) and the University of Antwerp hosted an “Innovation and Diamonds” conference at the Antwerpsche Diamantkring - the only rough diamond bourse in the world - featuring internationally-recognized experts from across the spectrum of the diamond trade, including alternative financing, the impact of digital on the luxury segment, the feasibility of small-scale ethical mining, as well as the earthquake and aftershocks of De Beers’ foray into lab-grown diamonds: LightBox.
Signet Jewelers' CEO Gina Drosos said the brand will follow consumer demand when deciding whether the company will start selling lab-grown diamonds in its stores, which currently number about 3,500 (3,000 in North America, 500 international). Industry insiders have told us they suspect decision has already been made. The CEO made the remark during a conference call about Signet's Q2 2019 results.
Bellweather jewelry group Chow Tai Fook built on its 2017 sales gains by recording a solid first fiscal quarter of 2018 (three months ended 30 June 2018), citing "impressive growth" in the Hong Kong and Macau market. Benefitting from "improving local consumer spending and an increase in visitors from Mainland China", retail sales surged by 21% in Hong Kong and Macau, while same-store sales (SSS) increased by 26%. Sales on the Mainland also fared well, increasing by 11%, with same-store sales up 4%.
Paramount Jewels has placed the winning bid of $5.2 million for the more than century-old New York jeweler A. Jaffe, a Nirav Modi-owned company that filed for bankruptcy earlier this year. The takeover includes the business and brand, meaning all of A. Jaffe’s core assets: its name, intellectual property, design patents, accounts receivable and inventory; all the assets, the companies said in a statement, that are “needed for A. Jaffe to continue as the successful brand that it is recognized as in the industry and to consumers.”
Calling financial year 2018 a "year of recovery", leading jewelry retail group Chow Tai Fook, a bellweather for China's jewelry landscape, reaped the benefits of the retail market in Greater China regaining its upward momentum, leading to a vibrant performance for the group. Chow Tai Fook’s sales and profit rose during the fiscal year in the rising Chinese market, with the retail sector also noting increased tourism to Hong Kong as having a positive impact on sales.
Signet Jewelers recorded a $77.2 million (5.5%) increase in overall sales during the 13 weeks ended May 5, 2018 (Q1 fiscal 2019), yet profits tumbled as the retail group reported a net loss of $496.6 million in the quarter, compared with a profit of $78.5 million in the year-earlier period due to a non-cash impairment related to the credit-outsourcing transition and restructuring charges.
De Beers this morning dropped a bomb on the diamond jewelry world with the announcement that they are launching a new brand of fashion jewelery containing laboratory-grown diamonds (LGDs). Called Lightbox Jewelry, the new brand will offer consumers LGDs in high quality designs for casual, everyday occasions at lower prices than existing LGD offerings. "Lightbox will bring something entirely new and innovative to LGDs, by combining colour and sparkle in fashion jewellery, and at very accessible retail prices", the miner writes in a document sent to stakeholders.
Forevermark, the diamond brand from De Beers Group, has announced the launch of Libert’aime by Forevermark, a new flagship store at HKRI Taikoo Hui in Shanghai, the Group writes in a press release. The opening marks the 1,000th Forevermark store in China, and comes as the brand celebrates its 10-year anniversary in the country.
In celebration of the launch of its spring campaign, "Believe In Dreams", as well as their largest new jewelry collection in nearly a decade, “Tiffany Paper Flowers”, Tiffany and Co. has transformed its corner of New York City with its iconic blue hue. Tiffany & Co's marketing blitz took a New York icon, the city's famed yellow cabs, and painted them with the brand's trademark robin's egg blue.
Following its successful 2017, with 19% growth globally, and a solid start to 2018, De Beers has announced it plans to grow its presence of its Forevermark brand on the European market. Starting in Germany, where Forevermark will enter the market for the first time after signing with an exclusive licensee partner, De Beers is in advanced-stage discussions with potential partners in France and Italy. In Germany, Forevermark is partnering with Heinz Mayer, an Idar-Oberstein-based diamond jewelry specialist.
Tiffany & Co. reported that its global net sales for FY 2017 (ended January 31, 2018) increased 4% to $4.2 billion, reflecting sales growth in most regions - particularly in the U.S. and China. However, its comparable store sales remained flat for the year despite 9% sales growth in the fourth quarter (Q4). During Q4, on a constant-exchange-rate basis, worldwide net sales rose 6% and comparable store sales were 1% above the prior year, falling short of estimates of a 2.7% gain.
Signet Jewelers same store sales declined 5.2% in the fourth quarter and declined 5.3% in full year fiscal ended February 3, 2018, the company announces at the conclusion of a self-described "challenging year". At the same time they announced two additions to its Board of Directors, appointing Sharon L. McCollam and Nancy A. Reardon as Independent Directors effective March 13, 2018.
Helzberg Diamonds has announced a "focused effort on innovating its marketing strategies," naming Ellen Junger as its new chief marketing officer and Carmichael Lynch its new advertising agency of record. Junger previously served as chief customer and marketing officer role for Payless ShoeShource.
Firestar Diamond, a company owned by Nirav Modi, the billionaire jeweller at the heart of a $2 billion fraud case in India, has filed for bankruptcy in a New York court, as investigators stepped up their investigation into a case that has stunned the country of India. Firestar Diamond, which on its website states that its operations span the US, Europe, the Middle East, the Far East and India, blamed liquidity and supply chain challenges. It listed up to $100 million in assets and debt, the court document said.
With marriage rates falling and divorce rates climbing, the diamond industry is facing a challenge to win over Chinese millennial consumers, Ruonan Zheng writes for Jing Daily.
Nine of the leading diamond industry organizations and jewelry associations have jointly released the Diamond Terminology Guideline, containing recommendations for describing diamonds and synthetic diamonds, announced the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) and CIBJO the World Jewellery Confederation in a press release. The Guideline, based on ISO standards and the CIBJO Diamond Blue Book, is intended to set the universal standard for communicating about diamonds and their laboratory-grown counterparts.
The Belgian Embassy in Tokyo was the setting for the launch of a new initiative to bring certified, Antwerp-sourced diamonds to the Japanese retail market under the quality label: "Diamonds & Antwerp" (DnA).
Brisbane-based retail jeweler Michael Hill has announced, "The complete exit of the loss-making retail operations in the US" as part of a set of strategic actions across its global retail network. The company, which "entered the U.S.
Tiffany & Co.'s worldwide net sales increased 8% to $1.05 billion in the two months of the holiday period ended December 31, 2017 due to growth across regions and product categories, and comparable store sales rose 5%, the jeweler announced in a press release. On a constant-exchange-rate basis that excludes the effect of translating foreign-currency-denominated sales into U.S. dollars, worldwide net sales rose 6% with comparable store sales up 3%. The growh was fueled by higher sales of fine jewelry, watches, and a new home and accessories collection.
Vrai & Oro, the jewelry designer owned by laboratory-grown diamond producer Diamond Foundry, has closed its Los Angeles retail store after only six months. Despite several articles by the likes of Vogue announcing their partnership, and The Hollywood Reporter dropping Hollywood names like headliner Leonardo DiCaprio, the designer has come to the conclusion, "that retail is a true challenge." The Los Angeles fine jewelry label, which was purchased by Diamond Foundry in November of last year, opened a store in downtown L.A. at the ROW DTLA shopping center last August.
This debate shows the need for the industry to demonstrate the value of its products. The link between a diamond and love is clear and well-established. But while consumers don’t think twice about buying $300 sneakers, or $1,000 handbags, they regularly balk at spending a few thousand dollars on engagement rings. And yet, it takes a lot of painstaking craft to make a ring (of the non-$25 variety). It also takes a lot of effort and money to get diamonds out of the ground. Plus, consumers are buying a product that is intended to hold its value and truly last forever ...