Walmart may not be a jewelry destination, but the retail giant sells millions of dollars of bling in its stores each year. The category is worth $18.6 billion among all U.S. retailers. Walmart began evaluating its jewelry departments last year and is making changes to department layouts.
The Bentonville-based retail giant said it will continue to sell “fine jewelry” in stores where there is demand, but the glass cases in other stores will be removed. Walmart said the decision to keep or lose the fine jewelry under glass is being determined on a case-by-case basis.
Since April 2018, Walmart’s roughly 1,000 stores have already undergone the redesign. About one-third of those stores did not have jewelry sales to justify keeping the glass cases, which require an employee be assigned to staff the area during store hours. Those stores will no longer offer finer jewelry items such as diamonds and gemstones set in gold or silver. Walmart will sell costume jewelry, watches and other accessories that hang on modular racks or spinner displays.
The stores that retained jewelry under the glass have a smaller footprint, and the spinner displays which traditionally sat on top of the cases were moved to the end in a corner display. These stores do not have a separate department manager for jewelry but have been consolidated with shoes, according to sources.
Walmart corporate spokeswoman Tara Raddohl-House told Talk Business & Politics the retailer will continue to make changes in more of its stores this year. She said the jewelry department revamp occurred in sync with the Spring 2018 redesign of the women’s apparel department when it unveiled its new clothing lines — Time and Tru and Terra & Sky. She said all stores in Northwest Arkansas have retained their “fine jewelry’ cases.
Raddohl-House also said Walmart will launch an exclusive line of costume jewelry branded as “Believe by Brilliance” the first week of April. This line is known as “bridge jewelry” as it mimics much more expensive pieces for a fraction of the price. Walmart said all stores will carry the new line and the items will hang on modular displays, with pieces priced between $15 and $25. Walmart said the Believe by Brilliance exclusive line will also be available on Walmart.com and will likely be eligible for same-day pickup in some locations.
Walmart Supercenter Store No. 5260 on Pleasant Grove Road in Rogers has the revamped jewelry department, which has downsized and retained the glass case, albeit smaller. There is a “Need Help” button at the glass case. When customers push the button the employee tasked with covering jewelry will leave their position and help the customer.
Stores run the risk for theft when jewelry counters are not manned. A couple in South Carolina recently stole $3,000 worth of jewelry from a Walmart store after a man forced open the glass case and put gold and diamond items in his accomplice’s purse. While there was no one working the jewelry counter, security cameras in the store did capture the theft and the couple was arrested the day after Christmas.
Walmart will continue to sell jewelry on its website, ranging from everyday diamonds to a $7,292 priced 3.15 carat, 14k gold ladies diamond ring sold by Dazzlingrock, one of 19 sellers of jewelry on Walmart.com.