By Brecken Branstrator
Warwick, R.I.--Even as the trend of jewelry businesses closing up shop remains, the pace with which they are closing has been slowing, continuing a trend seen in the first quarter

The most recent data from the Jewelers Board of Trade shows that in the second quarter in North America, 194 jewelry retailers, wholesalers and manufacturers ceased operations, compared with 442 in the same period last year. The bulk of this continues to be retail jewelers closing, representing 160 of those closures.

Breaking down the numbers by region, in the United States there were 187 jewelry retailers, wholesalers and manufacturers that ceased operations during the second quarter, down 56 percent from 428 in the same period in 2016.

Meanwhile, year-to-date in the U.S., businesses ceasing operations declined 38 percent to 464.

But while that pace has abated, the total listings of companies registered with the JBT also are down, from 29,092 in Q2 last year to 27,620 this year--a 5 percent decrease.

Additionally, there also are fewer new businesses opening.

In North America, 29 new businesses opened in the second quarter across retail, wholesale and manufacturing, which is down drastically from the 83 new businesses that opened in the second quarter 2016.

In the U.S., there were 22 new jewelry retail stores, 1 new wholesale business and 2 new manufacturers. This compares with 60 new retailers, 15 new wholesalers and six new manufacturers in the same three-month period last year.

The year-to-date numbers also have decreased, with JBT reporting 77 new businesses in North America in the first half of 2017, compared with 156 in the six months starting 2016. For the U.S., those numbers are 71 in 2017 and 154 in 2016.

Other notable finds from the data are an increase in sales and mergers in North America--up from 21 in the second quarter last year to 43 in Q2 of 2017--and a decrease in the number of bankruptcies--12 last year versus eight this year.

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