The Surprising Reason Americans Are Not Buying Jewelry

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Jewelry stores across the U.S. are struggling to get customers, and industry leaders think they know why.

You’ve probably seen the commercial: A beautiful smiling woman proclaims “He went to Jared!” and hoists her hand, which is adorned with a new dazzling diamond engagement ring.

But now “he” isn’t going to Jared anymore.

According to Bloomberg, same-store sales at the nation’s 270 Jared jewelry stores dropped nearly 8 percent last quarter. Jared’s 24 Texas locations accounted for half of the sales slump, which analysts say is a result of the U.S. oil glut.

But Mark Light, CEO of Jared’s parent company Signet — which also includes sister brands Kay Jewelers and Zales — says Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are also to blame. Light tells Bloomberg that fewer Americans are purchasing jewelry because of the turmoil of the presidential election.

Light describes it as “a consumer mindset issue” that is impacting the entire wedding industry. He tells Bloomberg:

“(Consumers) just want to get some stability and understand what’s going on as a whole in the world, and what’s going on in the presidential election.”

Tiffany & Co. also reported an 8 percent slump in existing store sales during the second quarter of 2016, according to The Wall Street Journal. Mark Aaron, Tiffany’s vice president of investor relations, also claims the contentious presidential election is largely to blame for fewer Americans buying jewelry. He tells the Journal:

“We believe that macro market and political uncertainties are likely playing a role in restrained consumer behavior.”

In addition to dealing with the recent dip in same-store sales, Signet is also trying to recover from allegations that its jewelry stores — including its Kay and Signet brands — swapped out customers’ diamonds for cheaper, lower-quality gemstones, CNBC reports.

Light says he expects jewelry sales to pick up again once the election is over.

Has uncertainty about the election caused you to hold off on any purchases? Share your comments below or on Facebook.

Stacy Johnson

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