Courtesy of RAPAPORT
U.S. jewelry store sales in December 2012 surged 11.8 percent year on year to $6.301 billion, which was the highest monthly total since $6.5 billion in December 2007. Taking into account that consumer price inflation (CPI) for jewelry fell 2.9 percent in December, the sales increase reflected even a stronger environment.
Annual jewelry store sales in the U.S. rose 5.7 percent year on year to $30.797 billion and that was the highest value since reaching $30.82 billion in 2007. But the industry has lost many retailers since that time, so surpassing the $30 billion mark for the first time in five years was a great achievement. Furthermore, while the CPI remained at a historically high level in 2012, it did continue to cool as the year progressed to record an average increase of only 1 percent.
In other industry trade news, U.S. jewelry exports in 2012 jumped 12.4 percent to $10.2 billion, while jewelry imports declined 1.9 percent to $12.1 billion. Exports of watches and clocks plunged 14 percent to $396 million, while imports were flat at $4.8 billion. As Rapaport News reported on February 12, the net diamond account in 2012, reflecting the value of polished and rough diamonds that stayed in the country, plunged 21 percent to $3.25 billion, led by a 23 percent drop in net polished imports. Net rough imports, however, were flat at $202 million.