Fashionably Late

An old acquaintance once said to me, "There are three sides to every story: his, hers, and what really happened." Nowhere is this more evident than in the jewelry industry in recent years. In the exuberant boom years of the late 1990s, it seemed as if sales had nowhere to go but up. Everyone said it couldn't last, but did anyone really believe it wouldn't? When the boom finally went bust in the fourth quarter of 2000, the reverberations went all the way up the pipeline. For the next few years, interviews at jewelry tradeshows brought a repeated lament from suppliers: "Nobody's buying. They're all just filling in." Retailers, however, told a different story. They all swore they were still buying, albeit more carefully and more selectively. Obviously, it's all a matter of perspective, but one thing was certain: Things were definitely different. And, from the looks of this month's s

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