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Comments from Hong Kong; NRF's Major Retail Industry Initiative

Sep 21, 2011 7:00 PM   By Rapaport News
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Sotheby’s New York held its important jewels auction this week, which garnered $16,489,625 --the highest total for a fall sale of important jewels-- and was 78 percent sold by lot.  Lisa Hubbard, the chairman of Sotheby’s International Jewelry department, said they were particularly thrilled by the extraordinary price achieved by the cover lot, the Cartier ''Tutti Frutti'' bracelet that achieved $842,500 – nearly triple its presale high estimate.

''Thirteen bidders chased after the piece, which had not been attributed to Cartier for some time until Sotheby’s rediscovered the faint signature of the legendary jeweler,'' she said.

Gary Schuler, the head of Sotheby’s Jewelry department in New York, added that the auction saw an incredible 99 percent of sold lots meeting or exceeding their presale estimates. ''Diamond prices in the sale reflected a solid market that appeared void of speculation, and there were strong prices for colored stones as well, led by the purplish-pink sapphire brooch that brought $254,500 above a high estimate of $120,000,'' he said.

The National Retail Federation (NRF) launched a long-term, multifaceted campaign meant to push for jobs, innovation and consumer value this week, well in advance of the upcoming election year 2012. The NRF will conduct a year-long “Retail Means Jobs” campaign, a first-of-its-kind political and advocacy push for the retail industry.

A centerpiece of the campaign, which will include lobbying Congress on behalf of retailers, includes grassroots efforts, advertising and social media plays, earned media and more, all of this centered upon  the group's website, an online action center designed to encourage engagement on behalf of the retail community’s agenda.

The website also shares new research conducted for NRF by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC), which shows that retail directly and indirectly supported nearly one in four U.S. jobs and provided 18 percent of GDP.

''The retail industry supports a quarter of our nation’s jobs and will continue to be at the forefront of our economic recovery,'' said Matt Shay, NRF's president. ''This campaign aims to ensure that we do everything possible as a nation to support the vitality of the retail sector, in order to create jobs and continue to foster U.S. innovation and competitiveness.''

The NRF plans to "give a voice" to retailers' priorities moving forward on Capitol Hill. Outreach to Congress will highlight the value of retail to the U.S. economy and jobs, a viral campaign will showcase the “Faces of Retail” by engaging consumers and employees in a video contest to be launched in 2012, a unique social media campaign will place heavy emphasis on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, all of this intended to keep the industry in direct, daily contact with U.S. consumers.

NRF launched the campaign in order to advance a comprehensive policy agenda with specific priorities to support the creation of new jobs, encourage continued innovations that will drive the growth of commerce, and fight against higher costs for consumers.

At the top of NRF's overall  "Jobs, Innovation and Consumer Value Agenda" are corporate tax reform, passage of pending Free Trade Agreements, steps to make it easier for foreign visitors to obtain visas so they can travel to the United States and shop its stores, leveling the playing field for sales tax collection by passing the Main Street Fairness Act, modernizing aging transportation infrastructure that slows down the retail supply chain and drives up costs, repeal or delay of a health care employer mandate that would force job cuts, and protecting consumer privacy while promoting innovations like mobile marketing. Earlier this month, NRF already asked the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction “super committee” to consider three of those issues – corporate tax reform, the Main Street Fairness Act and the employer mandate – among its options.

''Over the next 60 days NRF is aggressively urging the super committee to seriously consider reform of the corporate tax system, passage of the Main Street Fairness Act and elimination the employer mandate as ways to bring the deficit down and deliver more certainty to America’s job creators,'' said Shay. ''We’ll be activating retailers from every corner of the country throughout this campaign, ensuring that they weigh in with policymakers on the importance of getting these issues done.

''This campaign represents a major step forward in the retail industry’s efforts to have a voice that is commensurate with our massive role in the nation’s economic and employment picture,'' said Shay, who has reorganized the 100-year-old trade association with a new emphasis on advocacy, communication and education.


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Tags: campaign, industry, innovation, jobs, NRF, political, Rapaport News, results, retail, Sotheby's
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