It mirrors a national trend.
With just a week to go before the traditional start of the holiday season, jewelers are reporting their highest levels of confidence since we started tracking this key business indicator last year.
November’s reading of the INSTORE Jewelers Confidence Index (JCI) surged to 59, beating the previous high of 57 set in the wake of the 2016 presidential election. Thirty-seven percent of jewelers said the short-term outlook for their business had improved in the past month while only 13 percent said it had deteriorated (the remaining 50 percent said it hadn’t changed). Meanwhile, 32 percent of store owners said they were preparing to spend more on inventory in the next month compared to last year (while 27 percent said they’d spend the same and 42 percent said they’d spend less). Those two factors, outlook and inventory orders, form the basis of our index.
The increase in the INSTORE JCI mirrors a similar surge in U.S. consumer confidence, which rose to its highest level in nearly 17 years in October amid favorable views among Americans of the economy and in particular the job market. It also comes as jewelers report buoyant sales. Forty-two percent of our Brain Squad said that their sales had increased in October compared to the same month in 2016, while 33 percent said they were down (although many of those reporting sales declines were in the hurricane-hit South).
To be sure, the portion of jewelers who are cutting back on inventory orders remains high at 42 percent, although this is an area that is also showing improvement. The 32 percent who said they were planning to up their stock purchases marks the highest proportion since we did our first JCI reading in October 2016 and is more than double the 17 percent rate at the start of this year.
This story is an INSTORE Online extra.