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DE BEERS BELIEVES THAT American women will want their diamond jewelry — no matter the economic climate.
This story first appeared in the September 15, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The company is to open three stores in the next few months, bringing its U.S. store count to 11 by yearend. Boutiques in Costa Mesa, Calif., and in Naples and Bal Harbour, Fla., will launch in succession starting next month.
“We are continuing with our plan of openings despite the slowdown of the economy that’s hurting America,” said Hamida Belkadi, chief operating officer of De Beers U.S. “What we’re experiencing is that the high end of our business is not affected yet. What’s affected most is the low end.”
The high end for De Beers is one-of-a-kind jewelry selling for $50,000 and up. Low end constitutes pieces that retail for less than $10,000.
The 1,600-square-foot Costa Mesa store in South Coast Plaza will open next month featuring open spaces, ebony walls, etched-glass paneling and a VIP room for private sales. The unit also features the De Beers Beauty Scan, a technology that offers customers a close look at the details of a diamond, as well as the serial number on diamonds above 0.3 carats that is invisible to the naked eye.
The Florida stores are about 700 square feet each.
All stores will carry an array of jewelry from collections such as the Talisman, Ice on Fire and Radiance. Bridal and one-of-a-kind pieces will also be featured. De Beers is one of the first jewelry brands to include rough diamonds in its collections. The Talisman collection, which focuses on rough diamonds, is the brand’s top-selling line.
Belkadi projects that all stores will meet the average sales per square foot for jewelry in their markets: for Costa Mesa, $5,000 per square foot; Bal Harbour, $6,000, and Naples, $4,000.
The company is looking for more locations in the U.S., which is the largest market for De Beers, followed by Asia.