Why overseas companies like Samuels and Michael Hill still see opportunities in America
This week, we had even more news of jewelry stores closing. And yet, throughout the year, we have seen a few companies buck the trend and open stores in America:
– Samuels (Gitanjali)
It turns out that these companies have a bit in common:
– They are all still relatively small chains. (Samuels is the biggest, with over 100 stores. The other three have 10 stores or less.) But none wants to be a small regional brand. In every instance, we see an attempt to build a national name.
– All have a retail model that has worked elsewhere. Now they want to replicate it across the United States.
– They are all betting big on brick-and-mortar stores and believe that brick-and-mortar remains the future for jewelry retailing.
– They all have some kind of Wall Street backing. Gitanjali and Michael Hill are public. Diamonds Direct and Spence are owned by private equity.
– They all have roots abroad (Diamonds Direct grew out of Israel; Spence is based in Canada; Samuels, India; Michael Hill, New Zealand). To these companies, America is the biggest market in the world, with some of the highest growth rates in the world.
“We are bullish on the U.S.,” Farhad K. Wadia, the CEO of Samuels Jewelers, told me. “The U.S. market is the best in the world for growth. It is the only market in the world that is growing for jewelry.”
Many here are gloomy about the state of the jewelry industry. But when companies from abroad look at the American market, they see opportunity and endless potential. Perhaps we should see that too.