Rapaport Magazine

U.S. Wholesale

By Shuan Sim
Business Okay to Very Good

Many diamantaires saw a period of calm and stable sales in the months ahead of the holiday selling season, with business roughly the same year on year during recent months. “I hear rumors of orders coming in light and late, but for us it’s not been that way. Business has been satisfactory,” pointed out Jeff Fischer, president of Fischer Diamonds, a wholesaler in New York City.
   Shakeel Japanwala, manager at C.D. Diam, a diamond manufacturer in New York City, stated that the preholiday sales period had been good for him. “Everybody’s saying the market is slow but that’s not really the case for us.” He commented that perhaps the industry simply had to adjust to the new mentality about diamonds and that the days where diamond sales were consistently strong were gone.
   However, some sellers reported slow sales, citing tough competition on prices and difficult times for their buyers. “Business has been soft and it seems that the retail business has gotten worse,” said Koby Stalowsky, owner of Excellent Diamonds & Jewelry, a wholesaler in Los Angeles, California.

Right Goods Sell Well
   Wholesalers were glad that the lack of price resistance continued over the past couple of months and many were able to get satisfactory prices for their goods. Diamantaires did note that it was mostly in-demand goods that put bargaining power in their pockets. “Goods that have the spotlight — including well-made diamonds that have the right grading reports — can get us reasonably close to the prices that we need,” said Fischer. “If it’s in demand, you have a fighting chance. If something is out of favor, it becomes a memo item,” he added. Reuven Kaufman, president of the Diamond Dealers Club (DDC) in New York, noted that selling prices have stabilized and most dealers were selling at similar levels.
   Most wholesalers did not report any trouble restocking inventory. “Everything that you need is available,” noted Japanwala. However, Fischer commented that fancy shape production seemed to have slowed down a little, making fancy shape prices a little more competitive.

Need for Generic Advertising
   For the holiday selling season to shine, many wholesalers felt that there needed to be more generic advertising to consumers. “There used to be this mind-set where, during a special event, one would go, ‘Maybe I’ll get her something,’ but in the past couple of years that just went out of style,” Kaufman said. “It’s all about advertising. You used to see ads about diamond jewelry in the cabs and wherever you looked when you went out. That’s the key factor that’s missing,” he added. Stalowsky, who felt that young people were losing their desire for diamonds, agreed with the need for a call to action. “There should be a hard push by De Beers again.” Kaufman, however, was more hopeful about the Millennial situation with diamonds. “People have been so afraid that Millennials are not buying diamonds but it seems they are buying them, according to recent reports,” he said, referring to the recent Diamond Insights report by De Beers. (For details about this report, see De Beers Diamond Insight Report 2016 in the November print edition)
   “This holiday season, it seems people are optimistic,” said Kaufman. “It’s unusual but this presidential elections year looks to be a good year. Somehow there’s a bout of optimism, the economy is doing okay and there seems to be a good amount of disposable income around.”
   “Despite the lackluster months ahead of the holiday season, we always enter the season optimistically,” Fischer commented. “In the end, business turns out to be between okay and very good each year. It’s only a disaster for those who give up. If you stick it through, you’ll be fine,” he concluded.

Article from the Rapaport Magazine - November 2016. To subscribe click here.

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