“Tis the Season? (And Wal Mart’s Great Diamond Deal)

News from “Black Friday” seems decent and generally above expectations.  Here is an upbeat picture from National Jeweler. But Reuters notes:

Jewelry stores were named by only 6.3 percent of the people who said they shopped on [Black] Friday, compared with 10 percent in 2006.

One thing that seems to be helping: The weak dollar. There are a lot of tourists in New York this year, and you have to think many of them are shopping for bargains. 

Some of the mass merchants don’t seem to be doing too badly — JC Penney said jewelry was strong, and according to this Oklahoma newspaper, there was an hour-long wait for a jewelry counter at Kohls. And people are definitely advertising. After a weekend of pretty sporadic TV watching, I saw two commercials each from the DTC (“Journey”) and Kay, at least one from Zale, and a diamond ad from J.C. Penney. Good work, guys.

But this is really interesting … Click here, and you can see Wal mart offering one carat total weight diamond earrings (1/2 ct. each), I I3 quality, for $448. Considering that I I3, 1/2 carat stones, go for $900 a carat on Rapaport, that’s quite a deal, even factoring in the discounts. (Zale offers what I assume are  similar earrings for $800.) This article says the Wal mart earrings are already sold out and it’s an on-line only special, but there is no notice of either of those things on the site.

One big surprise is Sterling, which announced that same store sales fell 7% for November, causing their stock to get hammered.  Zale is already playing down forecasts.

So the initial verdict is: This season may not be as bad as some have feared. But then again, expectations were pretty low ….

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JCK News Director