Report: De Beers Entering Retail

According to a report in the London Times, De Beers plans to enter the retail arena to sell its own “brand.”

The Times said the new retail branch will not be fully owned by De Beers, and its board will not be controlled by De Beers representatives.

De Beers spokesman Andrew Lamont said the report was “speculation,” but he declined to confirm or deny its accuracy.

“Our business plan is being developed, and we are awaiting the moment where we can tell people more about it,” he says. “We think that a De Beers brand is a way to grow the diamond category, and we expect to see a brand in the marketplace. How we do that is the big question, and everyone is waiting for the answer. A separate independent entity is one of the options we are looking at.”

Some analysts think that an independent entity could let the company open stores in the United States. There also are rumors De Beers will link up with European luxury giant LVMH, owner of such brands as TAG Heuer and Chaumet. Lamont declined to comment on those rumors as well. Lamont stresses that, whatever happens, De Beers will not enter the polished market. “Our core business will remain rough diamond marketing and mining,” he said. “A brand wouldn’t be positioned in [such] a way that we are competing with our own sightholders. “Last year, JCK asked De Beers marketing director Stephen Lussier if the company planned a retail store. “If you build a brand, you might need the sort of place where people can experience the full brand vision,” he said.