By Erika W.
In his annual address at JCK where he discussed “The New Normal,” Martin Rapaport’s advice to retail jewelers was to “sell diamonds to rich people.” In a world of diamond-encrusted iPhones and iPads, a $3.8 million dollar diamond purse, and a $43 million diamond ring made entirely out of diamond, Rapaport’s advice isn’t so shocking.
High-end jewelers like Harry Winston are limiting U.S. expansion to capitalize on China’s burgeoning billionaire class. “We decided this year to put 100% of the capital investment in building new stores for Harry Winston into China,” said Harry Winston CEO Frederic de Narp in a CNN interview.
Conversely, big name designers are targeting U.S. middle class jewelry consumers with lower priced lines. Neil Lane for Kay’s, Vera Wang for Zales, Temple St. Clair for Target-the list goes on.
So what is this “new normal?” JCK’s Rob Bates discusses in his latest Cutting Remarks blog. Read on at JCK.
Some points that seem to show that the U.S. is really in a “new normal,” as least as far as consumer spending goes:
– For a while, we had an interesting phenomenon in this country, one which served this industry very well: People who weren’t rich, but acted like they were.