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Sears Launches Catalog to Grab Last-Gasp Holiday Jewelry Sales

As the holiday season approached, a study from Ball State University predicted that jewelry sales would be strong through year's end and would pick up in December, and Sears (SHLD) seems determined to make that prognostication come true.

To that end, Sears has launched its December Fine Jewelry Catalog offering bargains from 40 to 60 percent off through Dec. 24. Product available ranges from silver to diamonds and includes earrings, bracelets, necklaces, watches and special gift items. Among the brands available are Sears-exclusive Rock and Redemption by Michael Spirito, Celestial Star Diamonds, Bulova, Citizen, Armitron, Casio, Timex, Disney and more. Bargain prices that Sears highlights include a one-tenth carat total weight black diamond cat pendant, on sale for $99.99 down from $199.99, three-eighths carat total weight diamond stud earrings in 10-karat gold, for $129.99 down from $259.99, and a one-half carat total weight diamond bracelet, for $99.99 down from $259.99.

Sears spokesperson Shannan Hofman Bunting said consumers can find the catalog on line at http://jewelry.sears.com/, and, while the retailer certainly is trying to generate Internet sales, it isn't counting on them exclusively. The catalog has been promoted through banner ads on Sears.com and email to consumers, but, in addition, a print catalog was mailed direct to customers and distributed for pick-up in stores, she said. The catalog includes 242 items, most of which are available at stores and all of which can be purchased on Sears' website.

So, retailers seem to be backing Ball State's contention that jewelry will be big this holiday season. Recall that Target (TGT) reconfigured its jewelry sales to favor items priced less than $50 in a holiday push. Its actions and the Sears 40 to 60 percent off discount range suggest, however, that retailers won't be grabbing a big chunk of the year-end jewelry business without significant price incentives. Retailers have been trying to hold discounts to 40 percent off whenever possible in this holiday period. With the shopping season winding down, though, bargains will get deeper as stores push out remaining seasonal inventory before they have to reduce prices to the 70 percent off or more that true clearance levels may require.

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