christmas-tree-with-gifts-flipbook1Jewelers around the country had a tough time of it this holiday season, but they may have had a surge of December sales to make up for it. According to Nielsen’s National Jeweler Network annual holiday weekend sales roundup, which interviews independent jewelers around the country, some perfectly timed sales last week helped a few jewelers break even for the year. However, many jewelers reported an overall drop in holiday sales and lots of concern for 2009.

Owner Wilson Glasgow of Elizabeth Bruns Jewelers in Charlotte, N.C., said that both a weak economy and local bank-related job losses contributed to the poor sales. “In the Charlotte region,” he said, “we are doubly affected not only with the economy but with the loss of Wachovia bank. That’s given us a double whammy.”

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According to the Washington Post, couples plan to spend more than $62 billion on their weddings this year. $2 billion of that will go toward wedding bands (while $6 billion will go to engagement rings).

The article also mentions that specialty jewelers these days are doing slightly better than larger chains. The data, coming from retail association Jewelers of America, shows that smaller jewelers saw a 6 percent increase from 2006 to 2007 while bigger retailers grew 3.5 percent.

Why? It could be that when it comes to a personal item like a wedding ring, consumers want the personal experience you get from a specialty jeweler.

Either way, it’s enouraging to see small businesses rocking the house.