Columnists

On Data: Independents End 2019 on an Upswing

ColumnistsFeb 11, 2020

On Data: Independents End 2019 on an Upswing

Despite a few challenging months, 2019 turned out to be a positive year for the independent jeweler, Sherry Smith writes.

sherry-smith.jpg
Sherry Smith is director of business development for data and consulting company The Edge Retail Academy. She can be reached at sherry@edgeretailacademy.com.
It’s time to wrap up 2019!

All said, it was a good year for our independent retailers. Here is what our $2 billion in aggregated sales data is showing us.

There were a few challenging months last year. However, a robust fourth quarter—which featured a 5 percent increase in gross sales—played a pivotal role in how the independent channel ended up in 2019. And all of this despite the continued drop in number of units sold.

Gross sales were up 3.6 percent annually.

Another key performance indicator was the overall average retail sale, which climbed 10 percent from $301 up to $332.

The Northeast region had the smallest increase in gross sales at 1.2 percent, followed by the South at 1.3 percent and the Midwest, which saw a 3.6 percent increase in gross sales.

The standout regions were the Southeast, which finished with a 4.4 percent increase in gross sales, and the West, which finished up with a 5 percent increase in sales growth and had the highest overall average retail sale of all regions—$472.

(As a point of clarification, the Southeast region encompasses Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida. The South, meanwhile, is: Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Texas and Oklahoma.)  

It’s important to note some interesting category performances for 2019 as well.

Men’s watches recorded a 22 percent increase in sales growth year-over-year and represented 6.2 percent of annual sales and 4.5 percent of annual gross profit.
The second-highest increase came in the diamond bracelet category, with a 17 percent increase in gross sales representing just under 3.1 percent of annual sales and 3.1 percent of annual gross profit.

While loose diamonds only had a 1.4 percent increase in gross sales, the category did represent 13 percent of gross sales and the highest percentage of annual gross profit at 11 percent.

All told, the diamond categories accounted for 44.8 percent of annual sales and 45 percent of annual gross profit. (Please note that this doesn’t include diamond sales that are processed through custom.)

This year will be an interesting one to watch.

Economists predict growth will continue to slow, and many of us are keenly aware that we’re overdue for a market correction. That, coupled with an election year, means uncertainty in our retail world.
Having said that, independent jewelers are embarking on a new decade. 

There is real opportunity for our retailers to meet consumer demands by delivering exceptional and personalized experiences.

People, position and product need to exceed our customers’ expectations.

Here’s to a successful and prosperous 2020!
Sherry Smithis director of business development at Edge Retail Academy, the leading jewelry business consulting and data aggregation firm.
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