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Spoil Sport Meltdown Allowed Only Half Smiles at Las Vegas Show
Las Vegas or lady luck had nothing to do with the downturn of the 18th annual JCK Las Vegas Event.
By: Gunjan Jain
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Jul 22 2009 11:16AM
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Reference: 4018  

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Las Vegas or lady luck had nothing to do with the downturn of the 18th annual JCK Las Vegas Event. Given the challenging retail environment, JCK Las Vegas responded to the industry as a platform for buying activity between 2700 international and domestic manufacturers and all retail categories, offered special events and educational program to spread best practices and insight for accelerating economic recovery.

Zero Expectations :

Exhibitors came to the Show this year with zero expectations, hence anything achieved was considered good! Looking to the economic condition and its effect on the gems & Jewellery industry, people did not expected any business at the JCK Show this year. Still efforts were made and since there was negligible acticivity in the past few months in the precious market, whatever business people could do gave them half smiles !

Prices in diamonds looked strong again and manufacturers were holding their goods, while buyers were uncertain about the prices and hunting for cheap bargains. The fast reaction from the mining front in cutting down rough supply is showing its impact on the diamond pipeline. Good quality diamonds are not available much in the market so prices have jumped back from the bottom. According to market reports prices of diamonds have bounced back by about 10-15% in certain qualities from the bottom which was reached early this year.

Retailers at the Show were mainly looking for something different and cost effective products which they can move easily at their stores and also be able to attract customers. Run of the mill and commercial goods are not at all in demand.

Gemstones also encountered slow movement at the AGTA Show. As is well known that jewellery manufacturing has been shifted to Asia in a big way, so the demand of loose gemstones plummeted in USA. AGTA witnessed few designers who were buying some particular gemstones suitable for their designs, but that is not enough to sustain the entire industry. Tanzanite also remained comparatively slow but gained momentum later as it is the only gemstone available in required sizes and big quantities because it is controlled by limited manufacturers and suppliers.

The prevailing economic downturn has driven many people out of business, I came across a company that has been exhibiting at JCK for the past ten years but was not able to do the same this year. It was not because this company has not enough buyers but now they don’t have enough suppliers! So many medium to small gemstones factories in India who used to supply them have stopped manufacturing. Now only big players are left and they want to do business directly.

“Although it has been a tough year for the retail jewellery industry, JCK Las Vegas helped retailers and manufacturers with an efficient and effective way to do business.” said Dave Bonaparte, Group Vice President of JCK Events. “Manufacturers reported having results at this year’s event by meeting serious buyers who were looking for new and fresh inventory to take back to their stores.”

Show Shrinks :

The latest Show was small in size compared to the last year by the absence of a large number of exhibitors.

The precious industry expressed mixed views about it; some say it is not good that the size of the Show is shrinking. This will reduce the interest of other exhibitors also and also the buyers, while a few companies were very happy about this. They expressed the positive view that this downturn will consolidate the market and only healthy players would remain. Once that happens they would again be able to do business on their terms and with better profitabliy.

Mainly country pavillions were reduced to nearly half their usual size. INDIA, Belgium and Israel presented less exhibitors in their pavillions.

Highlights of the four-day event included The JCK Design Centre Retailers Choice Award presented to DeScenza Jewelers, Boston, MA and JCK Suppliers Choice Award presented to Worthmore Jewellers, Atlanta and Decatur, GA; the recognition of eight Rising Stars and Le Vian®’s Red Carpet Revue.

IDCA Annual Bash Impressive :

IDCA annual event presided over by Haridas Kotawala attracted a huge turnout of Indian traders based in USA. Navrattan Kothari, Chairman KGK Group was presented the Pioneer Award and Peter Engel, President and CEO Fred Meyer jewellers Retailer of the Year Award. The gathering paid standing condolence on the sudden demise of Vasant Sanghvi, Chairman Sanghavi Exports who was chosen for the lifetime achievement award. A video film was shown about the Sanghavi Group during the event, Chandrakant Sanghvi, MD Sanghavi Exports was the other recipient of the Life Time Achievement Award. He express his thanks for the award through a video film.

Haridas Kotahwala mentioned in his speech that although being in the precious business for so many years I have not seen such tough times. Yet I have confidence in the trade and I am hopeful that we all will emerge stronger and wiser.

Navrattan Kothari, thanking the gathering also quipped that he himself is not the only pioneer but the entire audience of ‘gems’ in this hall is full of pioneers in their own way! He also suggested that we should support our society and give back a percentage of what we receive from others. He concluded by saying that this economic crisis would be over soon and we are sure to see happy times again.

GLDA Show at Mirage :

GLDA Show attracted less participation this year from Hong Kong and other manufacturing centres. According to my reckoning the Show is becoming more of a retail event at Vegas. More participants for silver and low end jewellery had good retail sales.

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