What to Know About the Latest JBT Report

SurveysAug 05, 2021

What to Know About the Latest JBT Report

Although more jewelry businesses are shutting their doors, there is a silver lining to be found in the Q2 report.

More jewelry stores opened in Q2 2021 than Q2 2020, as per the Jewelers Board of Trade’s latest data.
New York—The Jewelers Board of Trade released its data for the second quarter, painting a mixed picture of where the jewelry industry stands.

While more businesses closed than during the same period last year, more opened and fewer are filing for bankruptcy.

Here are four important takeaways from JBT’s latest report.

More jewelry businesses closed in Q2 2021 than Q2 2020.

In the United States, there were 143 jewelry business discontinuances (defined as businesses that ceased operations, consolidated, or declared bankruptcy), compared with 90 in 2020.

When compiling its data, JBT includes three categories of businesses: retailers, wholesalers, and manufacturers.

Breaking it down by category, there were 119 retailers that either closed, consolidated or declared bankruptcy, along with 14 wholesalers and 10 manufacturers.

Looking at just U.S. retailers, the numbers look like this: In Q2 2021, 97 retailers closed, up from 56 in Q2 2020; 22 were involved in a sale or merger, compared with 12 last year; and there were zero bankruptcies, compared with six in Q2 2020.

However, more jewelry businesses opened in Q2 2021 versus Q2 2020.

The silver lining in the JBT data was that more jewelry businesses opened their doors in the second quarter of this year compared with last year.

In the U.S.,41 new businesses opened in the second quarter, compared with 24 openings in the previous second quarter. This includes 36 retailers, four wholesalers, and one manufacturer.

For the year so far, 74 new jewelry businesses have opened up in the United States.

The Northeast and the Southeast, both home to major jewelry hubs, saw the highest number of business openings in the country.

The Northeast region was in the lead in the second quarter with 15 openings, including 10 retailers, four wholesalers, and one manufacturer.

The Southeast followed with 13 new openings, all of them retailers.

Since Q2 2020, the industry has lost nearly 450 U.S. jewelry businesses.

Though COVID-19 restrictions have eased and reports indicate that fine jewelry sales overall have been strong, the last 18 months have still been rough for many businesses.

JBT counted a total of 24,021 U.S. jewelry businesses in the second quarter of 2021, 444 fewer than this time last year.

Compared with the previous second quarter, the industry has lost 333 retailers, 54 wholesalers, and 57 manufacturers.

All this increased activity—more businesses closing but also opening—is likely due in part to the easing of COVID restrictions and country’s return to a somewhat-normal state.

In several interviews last year, JBT President Erich Jacobs noted that the pandemic had many jewelry businesses simply frozen in place, and restrictions associated with the pandemic made data collection difficult for JBT.

He predicted the number of business closures would rise as the economy opens back up and it becomes obvious which businesses are able to come back and which ones aren’t.

There were very few bankruptcies in the second quarter.

One could count the number of U.S. jewelry businesses filing for bankruptcies on one hand in the second quarter. 

There were just two bankruptcies—one wholesaler and one manufacturer—in the second quarter, compared with eight in Q2 2020.

Year-to-date, there have been four bankruptcies compared with 14 in the first half of 2020.

However, the low number of bankruptcy filings may not be what it seems; it too is related to the pandemic.

Jacobs noted earlier this year that the COVID-19 crisis has led to a backlog of filings. In states with a lot of jewelers, particularly Florida and New York, the courts are months behind on bankruptcy dockets.

 Related stories will be right here … 
Lenore Fedowis the associate editor, news at National Jeweler, covering the retail beat and the business side of jewelry.

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