Don’t Blame the iPod

I can't believe mall jewelers don't understand the need to change things up, but I can believe most are afraid to step back from proven sellers and take more chances. It's a valid fear, especially in a public company under pressure to meet analysts' and shareholders' expectations. And in an environment where materials costs are spiraling while their customers' wallets are under attack, the instinct to stick with established winners seems the prudent choice. But without some newness, even winners grow boring. Beryl Raff, executive vice president and general merchandise manager of jewelry for J.C. Penney, alluded to this in her presentation at the Plumb Club conference last spring when she wondered what happened to quality and innovation. At the Rapaport International Diamond Conference last month, Neal Goldberg, the new CEO of Zale Corp., spelled it out unequivocally: The mall sector of
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