b'THE STATE OF THE THE JEWELRY THE COLOREDMAJORS DIAMOND DESIGN STONE MARKETINDUSTRYWHATS IN, WHATS OUT EDAHNS Ask Norman Roberts whats trending in retail design, and hellTAKEgive you a pretty short answerthere is not one definitive trend.Roberts is vice president and creative managing director in the New York office of FRCH Nelson, an architecture firmBY EDAHN GOLAN that specializes in retail. His roster of jewelry-specific projects includes major players like Neiman Marcus and Tiffany & Co.,A n examination of the $100 Million Supersellers list provides insight plus multiple remodels for independent London Jewelers.on the U.S. fine jewelry and watch retail landscape and teaches a He says there arent many specific, sweeping trends he canfew lessons, particularly given that overall, larger retailers have done point to right now and say, Everyone in retail is using this color,increasingly better in the past few years. or Every successful store in America is crafting their showcasesTotal revenue among the companies listed as $100 Million Supersellers increased. in this type of wood.In 2018, their combined total jewelry and watch revenue rose 3.7 percent A couple of micro-trends do come to mind for him, though.year-over-year (versus 2 percent in 2017 and 1.5 percent in 2016) to an estimated Dove gray is popular, as is the monochromatic look.$27.95 billion (versus $26.96 billion in 2017 and $25.1 billion in 2016). Eclectic is another word that kept popping upand not justIn addition, after a decline in 2017, Supersellers sales-per-door increased as in reference to inventory.well, rising on average by 2 percent in 2018. Roberts says for a long time in retail, the trend was for uni- Some specialty jewelry retailersindependents and chains that sell almost formity in a space. The same metal or wood was used through- nothing but fine jewelry and watchesare closing less-profitable locations or out a store, for example. Retailers would never have dreamedshutting down entirely, leading to a decline in their market share compared with all of placing mismatched showcases or two different kinds ofretailers selling jewelry and watches.flooring in their stores. Yet, among the companies on the Supersellers list, it is the specialty jewelry retailers Today, they feel free to mix it up a little bit more, pickingthat increased their market share, from 58 percent in 2017 to 60 percent in 2018. furniture, fixtures and palettes that coordinate with an areasThe reason for their improved market share is consolidation; they picked up purpose, much like rooms in a home, rather than worryingbusiness from specialty jewelers that closed. about the whole store looking the same.The improved performance of big jewelry chains increased the number of Roberts can also pinpoint one look thats on the way out specialty jewelers on the list by one, from 25 to 26, while the number of non-spe-the aesthetic best described as the hipster, Brooklyn or yecialty jewelry retailersretailers that sell a wide assortment of products in addition ole shop look, complete with distressed wood and tin ceilings.to fine jewelryfell by one, from 18 to 17. Thats definitely past its prime a little bit now. I think itThe sum effect of specialty jewelry retailers growth is impressive. Their got a little overextended. total revenue was much higher in 2018, and they posted greater year-over-year But overall, theres not one look that rises above the rest in retailgrowthan estimated $15.6 billion in net sales, an increase of 6 percent.right now, and for good reasonretailers are trying to be unique.By comparison, the non-specialty retailers generated an estimated $12.4 billion Were living in an age where retailers, if theyre doing a goodfrom jewelry and watches, up less than 1 percent from the previous year. job, are really trying not to look like the [retailer] next door,Specialty jewelry retailers learned how to deal with online sales and evolved Roberts says.thanks to improved knowledge about jewelry and passion for their product. This is What they are doing, though, is creating retail spaces thattheir greatest advantage over multi-item retailers, and they leveraged it well. are inviting and designed in a way that makes customers con-Despite the fact specialty jewelers on the Supersellers list have collectively gen-nect with them emotionally.erated better jewelry and watch revenues, their average jewelry and watch revenue Many have a more residential feel. With comfortable seat- per company was lower than that of the multi-item retailers on the Supersellers list. ing, coffee tables, cell phone charging stations and residentialWhen looking at all the companies on the Supersellers list, $650 million worth lights, such as sconces, chandeliers and table lights, stores areof jewelry and watches were sold per company. But specialty jewelry retailers evolving from emphasizing commerce to conveying comfortaveraged just $599 million per company, while the non-specialty retailers averaged and convenience. $729 million per company. Retailers are designing spaces to have a less intimidatingSo how did the non-specialty retailers do it, especially since they sold less and more inviting vibe, but Roberts acknowledges that aurajewelry and fewer watches per store? Simplethey have more stores. can be tougher for jewelers to achieve.Non-specialty retailers had more than quadruple the number of doors per So perhaps the industrys best bet is to look outside forcompany than the specialty jewelry retailers on the $100 Million Supersellers list. inspiration.I have one additional important takeaway.While some of the companies in the jewelry industry overall offer low-cost A FIFTH AVENUE SAFARIitems or OK-quality products, the companies on this list have strong brand names At the Jewelers of America National Convention in July,and superior local recognition. presenter Ken Nisch, chair of Southfield, Michigan-basedTheyve maintained their reputations and carefully protected them. Theyve design firm JGA, told attendees at his education session titledalso invested heavily in marketing, be it traditional advertising, social media or Making the In-Store Experience Memorable that theysophisticated data analytics aimed at targeting the right client online. should embark on a retail safari to explore a variety of shops,Its no coincidence theyre doing well and are therefore worth studying. not just other jewelry stores.Continued on page 12 Edahn Golan is a Tel Aviv, Israel-based researcher and writer specializing in the fine jewelry industry. He compiles the financial figures for National Jewelers annual 10 STATE OF THE MAJORS 2019 $100 Million Supersellers list.'