There’s No Going Back Home

By nature, retailers are upbeat, personable, and talkative. Most are also entrepreneurs who deal with the public, a job that's daunting but rewarding. It's nice to be involved in people's happy moments. Recently, though, I sense flagging optimism. Here are some key words: gas prices, deficits, health costs, declining housing sales, Iraq, layoffs, and floundering government. Our business depends on consumers feeling good, and that's been difficult lately. In the 1950s, jewelers were also in giftware, tabletop, leather goods, and appliances. Toasters used to be wedding gifts! Retail specialization drove most of those categories out of jewelers' stores. Jewelers began to concentrate on their talents, especially diamonds and gemstones and better watches. Through all these transitions, I have heard many retailers complain that they had to deal with new channels of retailing. Catalog sho

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