The New Normal

One of the toughest parts of the current economic situation has been simply not knowing when it's going to hit bottom—or even where the bottom is. Once it hits bottom, at least you'll know what you're dealing with and you can begin to adapt to the “new normal.” Until then, all you can do is speculate about what might be the new normal and try to prepare for it. In recent weeks, there have been some glimmers of hope that we might be at or near the bottom of this downturn. Housing starts have picked up slightly, the rate of decline of retail sales has slowed, and even the global diamond industry is showing signs of thawing out of its recent deep-freeze. But what will be the new normal in terms of consumer shopping behavior? Right now it's all about frugality, but what comes after frugality? And where will it leave our industry? To date, all the signs and portents of what comes

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