A ccording to the U.S. Commerce Department’s Bureau of EconomicAnalysis, Americans spent some $76.85 billion on watches and jewelry last year, up 5 percent from the $73.2 billion spent in 2016. The bureau’s positive report aligns with data released by various indus- try bodies throughout the year, with De Beers, the Platinum Guild International and the Silver Promotion Service all reporting U.S. sales gains in their respective product categories. However, a closer examination of the 2018 “$100 Million Supersellers” list—which includes all companies that sold $100 million or more in watches and jewelry in their most recent fiscal year—shows that it was not a better year for all retailers. Compiled by Edahn Golan, owner at Edahn Golan Diamond Research & Data Ltd., the list totals 42 companies. Golan’s sales estimates show that a little more than half of those 42 saw watch and jewelry revenue increase year-over-year while the remaining retailers experienced flat or declining sales. Macroeconomic conditions and a firm grasp of digital marketing have boosted jewelry business for big brands that already enjoyed strong consumer recognition. Estimates show luxury conglomerates LVMH, Richemont and Kering, which together own the bulk of the world’s most well-known watch and fine jewelry brands, saw sales rise year-over-year, as did Swatch Group. Also showing gains are retailers for which price is the main attraction—thinkAmazon and chains likeT.J. Maxx, Kohl’s and Costco, whose biggest draw is not the luxurious nature of their stores but the fact that consumers perceive they are getting a good deal. According to Golan’s estimates, T.J. Maxx parent company TJX Companies Inc. recorded watch and jewelry sales of $252 million last year, up from $239 million the pri- or year. The company ranks as the 29th largest seller of watches and jewelry in North America, directly behind another bargain hunter’s delight, Kohl’s Corp., which also saw a year-over-year increase in watch and jewelry sales. The performances of Costco and Amazon were even more impressive. Costco Wholesale Corp. leapfrogged Macy’s Inc. to become the third largest seller of fine jewelry and watches in North America, with 2017 sales estimated at $1.52 billion to Macy’s $1.47 billion. While the retailer, which declined National Jeweler’s request for an interview for NATIONAL JEWELER 11 SIGNET JEWELERS LTD. Last fiscal year, Signet’s North American jewelry sales totaled $5.62 billion, down 2 percent year- over-year. The retailer, however, is under new leadership, with August 2018 marking a year since Gina Drosos took over. The appointment of its first female CEO ushered in a new era of openness and innovation at the company, shaking up a culture viewed by some as staid. Signet has been providing journalists with unprece- dented access to its executives, including Drosos, who personally has made herself visible within the industry and online. (Anyone with a Twitter account can follow and read regular tweets from @GinaDrosos.) Drosos also has been vocal about changing Signet, as detailed in the retailer’s three-year turnaround plan, while publicly calling for more innovation in the industry at large. Among her critiques of the industry: not paying enough attention to areas of opportunity. Drosos says there is too much focus on the end-of-year holidays and bridal while other potential occasions for jewelry gift-giving, like birthdays and graduations, are over- looked. She also believes there isn’t enough marketing to women who are buying jewelry for themselves. Time will tell if Signet’s “Path to Brilliance” can set it on the right course, though early indicators are positive. In the second quarter of its current fiscal year, Signet’s same-store and total sales grew 2 percent. GROUND dle SNAP SHOT