Striking it Niche

In an industry where diamonds account for half of all sales, one successful company deemphasizes the category. Na Hoku, a 28-store, mall-based chain of jewelry stores owned by The Sultan Co., Honolulu, does less than 10 percent of its business in diamond-intense jewelry such as three-stone rings and diamond stud earrings. In fact, the retailer offers just one style of engagement ring: a solitaire, available with stones in five different sizes, from 0.25 cts. t.w. up to 1.0 ct. t.w. "The shoppers we get the least of are the young couples looking for engagement rings," says Steve Bookatz, executive vice president and chief operating officer. "Island-lifestyle jewelry is our business," he explains. As the high and low ends of the retail market continue to expand, squeezing the middle, small and medium-size independent jewelers are looking for new ways to compete. One strategy is to create

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