R2Net, which owns JamesAllen.com, the fastest growing online diamond retailer, obtained a $140M growth equity investment from Francisco Partners to further accelerate the company’s rapid expansion, the company announced in a press release. “Anyone who has ever bought a diamond or an engagement ring appreciates how intimidating the process can be for the consumer,” said Matt Spetzler, Partner at Francisco Partners.
77 Diamonds, a small independent London company, has caused quite a stir in the shopping environment for jewelry by making bespoke jewelry in the UK and selling it online. The business was developed to cater to the change in consumer behavior of a generation that is more likely to meet their potential match by swiping right, than in person.
Two professional jewelers are seeking to fill a market need by launching an app for the industry, Jewellery Trader, which gives members of the trade a new tool for sourcing and showcasing jewelry, watches and antiques. It also enables traders to advertise items for sale to consumers. The Jewellery Trader app was designed in an effort to provide an “innovative, cost effective selling tool in an easy to use and manage platform”.
179-year-old Tiffany & Co. has made headlines recently, launching a new ad campaign featuring Lady Gaga - who rocked the Super Bowl halftime show - and quietly dropping CEO Frederic Cumenal. Cumenal was let go due to his inability to turn around the dropping sales figures since taking over in April 2015.
U.S. retailers are under threat of having no option but to close their stores and move their business to the Internet, write Lindsey Rupp and Molly Smith for BloombergMarkets. In the last 18 months, over 5,000 stores have closed their doors, with an additional 10% of all U.S. retail spaces being forced to repurpose or close down altogether. Although consumer spending this holiday season (Nov-Dec) increased overall by 4% to $658.3 billion, ending slightly higher than earlier projections, this can be attributed to deep discounts and online purchases.
The Seattle-based online jeweler Blue Nile has partnered with online diamond buyback company Mondiamo to create what it calls a transparent process for those looking to sell their diamond jewelry, writes The Seattle Times. The service works like this: Customers enter details of their stone’s grading report on the site and receive a minimum guaranteed cash offer. (For non-GIA reports, the price is adjusted based on a proprietary algorithm.) If there is no report, no offer is given.
Rob Bates of JCK has gathered his sources to put together an overview of holiday jewelry sales and says that, "The data shows a mixed, but not altogether downbeat, picture. This year, holiday results appear to be all over the map—some independents did great; others recorded a 1 to 2 percent gain, which has become standard for many since the recession. In a surprise, we also saw mixed results at the mass-market level as well." Below are a few notable takeways from the information JCK has gathered.
Announcing the results of a disappointing Holiday Season (the nine weeks ended December 31, 2016), Signet Jewelers Limited, the world's largest retailer of diamond jewelry said its same store sales had decreased 4.6% during the crucial period, compared to an increase of 5.1% during the corresponding period a year earlier. Total sales at $1,940.9 million were down by $104.2 million or 5.1% as compared to an increase of 5.3% in the prior year, the retailer noted, adding that the decline was driven principally by underperformance in its Sterling division e-commerce business.
National Jeweler’s Editor-in-chief Michelle Graff made 3 Predictions regarding the retail market for 2017 based on current market trends and the way consumer demand is changing with the times. Retailers, including larger chains, will continue the 2016 trend of closing down. Women’s clothing retailer The Limited announced that they were closing all their stores and operating strictly online.
The ‘Clicks and Bricks’ retail sales model for jewelry combines the strengths of online shopping and the bricks and mortar business model, a successful and growing formula that is providing great returns for companies like Ritani, writes Better Diamond Initiative (BDI). "Ritani, which was a wholesaler earlier, has transformed into an USD 50M online jewelry company. It is the 40th Most Promising Company of America according to the Forbes’s list", and the main reason is the combination of online and physical retailing.
Consumer confidence climbed in December to the highest level since August 2001 as Americans were more upbeat about the outlook than at any time in the last 13 years, writes Bloomberg based on a report from the Conference Board, a New-York based independent business membership and research association working in the public interest. The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index®, which had increased considerably in November, posted another gain in December: the Index now stands at 113.7 (1985=100), up
Black Friday's online sales beat estimates as shoppers moved online for the shopping holiday, with mobile devices driving more purchases than ever, writes Adobe Digital Insights. ADI adds that this year's online sales shattered 2015's record as the convenience of mobile likely spurred more shoppers to make purchases remotely, rather than navigating crowded brick-and-mortar locations. ADI reported total online sales for the period Nov. 1-30 at $43.9B, with total online sales growth at 7.4%. Thanksgiving Day alone saw $1.15B of online sales for y-o-y growth of 13.6%.
In response to Walmart selling their $18,000 Diamond Watch on walmart.com, Cartier issued a statement clarifying that Walmart is not authorized to sell its products. Walmart has more than tripled its online offering of products over the past year, and made headlines last week when the Wall Street Journal reported that a third-party vendor, New York-based Jewelry Unlimited, was selling a $18,000 diamond watch by Cartier on walmart.com on Black Friday. Cartier took aim at Walmart on Monday, saying it could not vouch for the authenticity of the watches sold via walmart.com.
In her recent article for Bloomberg, "Happy Couples Don't Buy Diamonds Online the Way They Used To," Polly Mosendz analyzes the changing landscape for diamond engagement rings - and in particular the online sales thereof. She notes firstly the trend for diamond rings to change hands online in way they never did previously, resulting in tremendous growth in the second-hand market.
In a surprise announcement, online jeweler Blue Nile said Monday that it has entered into an agreement to be taken private by an investor group comprised of funds managed by Bain Capital Private Equity and Bow Street LLC, writes Anthony DeMarco for Forbes. The all-cash deal is valued at $500 million.
Dharmanandan Diamonds (DDPL), a De Beers sightholder company, has become first to launch an online auction platform - the Diamond Carnival - for polished diamonds, writes The Times of India. Available for clients in India and abroad, the new monthly auction platform is accessible through the Internet as well as iOS mobile applications. The first auction in the series on the new platform opened at 12:00 PM on October 17 and will be live for three days, the company said in a release.
The Hong Kong Accredited Diamond Exchange (HKADE), backed by a renowned Hong Kong serial entrepreneur Mr. Shih Wing-Ching, provides the first online peer-to-peer (P2P) global diamond marketplace with its reliable verification service and unique features for investment consideration with the support of non-physical settlement, according to a company press release. "There is a big gap between the retail price and resale price of diamonds," Mr. Shih stated. "This is because information about the diamond market is not always clear.
Chow Tai Fook, the world’s largest publicly traded jewelry chain, is warning that the jewelry market remains challenging even though it expects a decline in sales to ease off in the second half of this year. It also hopes to benefit from easier comparisons in the second half with the same period of 2015. “This year is still a challenge because the volatile global economy is affecting buying sentiment as a whole,” Kent Wong, the managing director of Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group, told Rapaport News.
Online jeweler Blue Nile has opened its fourth Webroom, and plans to open a fifth by Thanksgiving at a yet-unnamed location. Webrooms are display locations that provide a retail setting for consumers to see more than 400 goods available for sale which can then be ordered on a PC, by smartphone or via a tablet. Sales can also be made online via in-store tablets and with the help of non-commissioned consultants. The fourth Webroom is in the Washington Square mall in Portland, Oregon, and the first to open on the West Coast, just a few hours south of Blue Nile headquarters in Seattle.
When shopping on the web, there are some limits to how high consumers will go, writes JCK's Rob Bates in a survey of the highest-selling jewelry items bought online. While the industry was once obsessed about whether consumers would buy a $5,000 ring online, the question now is how much higher will they be prepared to go and where is the cyber version of threshold resistance? Looking at various sites, JCK found some extremely expensive items for sale, but it doesn’t seem that many people are buying them.
Jewelry Television (JTV) in the United States reported a 16 percent jump in revenue for the fiscal year which ended in June as the company expanded its customer base. Its customer numbers increased by 12 percent, the company said. During the last three months of that period, the customer count jumped by14 percent while sales surged 15 percent higher, Rapaport reported. Sales over the past two years have risen 37 percent. JTV broadcasts live programming 24 hours a day, seven days a week to 86 million U.S. households and also sells jewelry online.
Online diamond and jewelry retailer Blue Nile reported flat second-quarter sales and lower profits for its fiscal second quarter which ended on July 3 from a year earlier as it was hit by lower average prices for its goods. Net sales were $113.8 million compared with $113.7 million for the same quarter last year. Analysts had been expecting earnings of $114.10 million.
Despite all the talk of the millennial generation and younger people being overwhelmingly digitally connected, a new study in the UK emphasizes the ongoing importance of physical stores in driving retail sales. Of the £313 billion ($410 billion) spent by UK consumers in 2015, £278 billion (89%) “touched” a store through physical sales, click & collect and online sales browsed in store, according to research firm Verdict Retail and British Land.
Luk Fook Holdings reported that the slump in sales continued in its first fiscal quarter due to a slowdown in Mainland China and low sales in Hong Kong and Macau. The firm last month reported that sales and profit tumbled for the fiscal year ended March 31.
Online diamond and jewelry retailer Blue Nile has opened the second of its 'Webrooms' at the Westchester Mall in White Plains, New York. It opened its first Webroom in June 2015 at Roosevelt Field Mall in Garden City, New York. Webrooms are display locations that provide a retail experience for consumers to see more than 400 goods available for sale which can then be ordered on a PC, by smartphone or via a tablet. Sales can also be made online via in-store tablets and with the help of non-commissioned consultants.
Online diamond jewelry seller Blue Nile announced earlier this month that it would temporarily no longer ship to South Dakota in response to a new state law that says remote sellers must collect sales tax from local residents, even if, and this where the law differs from similar state laws, they have no physical presence in the state (known as nexus). The rule applies only to companies that sell more than $100,000 or process more than 200 in-state transactions a year.
Berkshire Hathaway’s Richline Group, a major supplier of jewelry to retailers in the United States, has bought online jewelry firm Gemvara Inc. which has struggled to find a strong business model despite the investment of $60 million in the firm since it was established in 2006. Richline, which did not reveal the acquisition price, plans to hire more workers at Gemvara as it attempts to grow its footprint in the online sector, spokesman Mark Hanna told The Boston Globe.
China's largest jewelry retail chain, Chow Tai Fook, is spreading its wings further afield and is aiming to expand more broadly into retail in a bid to capture some of the business of Chinese retail giant Alibaba and other Internet retailers. It invested $54 million in shopping platform CTFHOKO.com in December and a mall to showcase products sold online, offering genuine imports such as infant formula, diapers and cosmetics at prices at least 10 percent cheaper than shops in mainland China and is aimed at consumers wary of counterfeit goods online, according to a Bloomberg report.
Online diamond and jewelry retailer Blue Nile is to open its third 'Webroom' at the Tysons Corner Center mall near Washington D.C. The firm said the Webroom is expected to be opened by mid-summer. Webrooms are display locations that provide a retail experience for consumers to see goods available for sale which can then be ordered on a PC, by smartphone or via a tablet. Sales can also be made online via in-store tablets and with the help of non-commissioned consultants.
The percentage split of total UK online sales in the fourth quarter was 49% for desktops/laptops, 33% for tablets and 18% for smartphones. Meanwhile, visits to retail websites via mobile devices accounted for 66% of traffic in the fourth quarter, compared with 53% in the fourth quarter last year, Professional Jeweller magazine reported. While sales growth using smartphones increased sharply in 2015, growth via tablets reached a record low in December 2015, according to data from IMRG and consultancy firm Capgemini.
Shares of Blue Nile, the online diamond and jewelry retailer, are down more than 20 percent in Thursday morning trading after the company posted “disappointing” Q4 results, according to CEO and President Harvey Kanter. Blue Nile's sales tumbled nearly 5% year-on-year in the fourth quarter. This was particularly disappointing given that the fourth quarter represents the company’s important period of holiday jewelry sales.
Online jewelry retailer Blue Nile announced that its sales fell 4.8% to $150.0 million for the fourth quarter ended January 3. Q4 engagement net sales in the U.S. declined 7.7% to $78.4 million, while U.S. Q4 non-engagement net sales fell 0.3% to $48.7 million. "While sales were disappointing, we delivered an eight year high in EPS.
CNBC reports that the National Retail Federation (NRF) said holiday sales increased 3% to $626.1 billion in November and December, falling short of the trade group's forecast for 3.7% growth, as unseasonably warm weather and low prices weighed on results. The news came shortly after the Commerce Department said retail sales posted an unexpected drop in December, falling 0.1% from the previous month. Compared with the prior year, December sales rose 2.2%, to $448.1 billion, according to the government data.
With the Chinese New Year season approaching, the outlook for sales is not very hopeful, writes Avi Krawitz, citing volatility on the Shanghai stock exchange, the government's devaluation of the yuan, economic growth slowing, major retailers such as Chow Tai Fook and Luk Fook publishing sharply lower Q3 sales and profits in recent weeks and falling manufacturing output showing that global demand for Chinese products is declining. Chinese jewelers overbought in 2014 and are still holding enough inventory for the Chinese New Year which begins on February 8.
Mobile sales in the United States jumped 59% on the year to $12.65 billion in the November-December holiday sales season, accounting for 18% of overall digital commerce compared with 13% a year before, said retail industry monitoring firm comScore. The rise was in line with the research firm's forecast that mobile commerce revenues would increase by 50-60-percent. Overall digital spending is forecast to have increased by 13% to $69.1 billion, with desktop computer sales up 6 percent to $56.4 billion, the firm said in a statement.
JCK reports that Brilliant Earth, an online jewelry retailer dedicated to socially and environmentally responsible sourcing as tool for promoting social change in developing countries, is opening its third showroom, in Boston, as well as airing its first TV commercial featuring homemade videos of engagement proposals with Brilliant Earth jewelry. The new showroom adds an East Coast base to its two California showrooms in Los Angeles and San Francisco,
Louis Pearl, rough diamond consultant and gemologist, takes a hard look at eroding profit margins throughout the diamond pipeline from a historical perspective and - for a change - does not place all the blame on the major miners.
Tiffany & Co. has reclaimed its position this year as the leader of an index published by business intelligence firm L2 Inc, maintaining a 14-point lead over runner-up Cartier "based partly on its unparalleled SEO performance on competitive category keywords like 'engagement ring.' The brand also distinguished itself on social media with campaigns like 'Will You?' and 'Concierge of Love' – an interactive Valentine’s Day campaign pairing social media programming with an interactive gift guide on the brand site.