Springing Forward

It’s early March as I write this, and the view from my office window is encouraging. After months of record-breaking snowstorms here in Baltimore, spring temperatures are melting the last stubborn snowdrifts and bringing everyone out of hibernation.

The art market also seems to be showing new signs of life. Last week, The Armory Show in New York opened its doors to a record 60,000 visitors—up from 56,000 last year. And that wasn’t just foot traffic; galleries reported that collectors were buying in a big way.

For small retailers, recovery is definitely in the cards. According to a January survey by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, independent retailers are already chalking up success by emphasizing their community roots and local ownership. The 1,800 businesses polled reported an average increase of 2.2% in their holiday sales. Compare this to overall retail sales, which were up 1.8% in November and down 0.3% in December, and you’ll understand why every one of you deserves a big pat on the back.

We really are beginning to thaw out from this long, cold economic freeze. Purse strings are loosening and consumers are shopping again. The question now is: are you ready?

In this issue, we focus to jewelry retailers and what they’re doing to catch shoppers’ attention. Our 2010 Jewelry Forecast sheds light on new materials and techniques consumers will soon be asking for. In another feature, we’ve asked retailers to share the marketing tactics they’re using to drive sales. We also report on what the “new bride” is looking for in wedding bands. Finally, check out our portfolio of stunning new jewelry, both fine and fashion, at price points to fit any shopper’s budget.

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The Rosen Group, our parent company, expects to see plenty of renewed buying energy at NICHE: The Show, its brand-new endeavor premiering June 6-8 in Las Vegas. The trade show takes place during Jewelry Week and will offer retailers a handcrafted marketplace of jewelry, glass, ceramics and wood objects created by artists in the U.S. and Canada. Hope to see you there!

CORRECTION
Allanstand Craft Shop, winner for Best Guild Store in the NICHE 2009 Top Retailer Awards, was inadvertently omitted from the print edition of our Winter issue. Please visit NICHE magazine to read more about the Allanstand Craft Shop and the rest of our 2009 Top Retailers.

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