Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

Check Out Line: Diamonds no longer a girl’s best friend?

May 29, 2009

tiffany1Check out the quarterly results at jeweler Tiffany & Co. It’s enough to make one question  Marilyn Monroe’s choice in songs.

The company posted a slightly weaker-than-expected first-quarter profit and said sales dropped 22 percent as shoppers avoided jewelry. Companies like Tiffany and even more-affordable peers such as Zale Corp have seen demand hurt in the past year as consumers focus on buying necessities in the recession.

In a sign that maybe things are at least stabilizing, Tiffany maintained its full-year profit outlook. Even better, the U.S. economy contracted slightly less than initially estimated in the first quarter.

However, consumers remain under pressure as plunging home prices, rising unemployment and a new wave of foreclosures are clouding prospects for a quick end to the U.S. real estate debacle.

Also in the basket:

J Crew beats in quarter, shares rise 17 percent

Organic Dairies Watch the Good Times Turn Bad (New York Times)

Hartmarx’s Fate Hangs in the Balance (WWD, subscription required)

Versace’s Business Model Stumbles On The Catwalk (New York Post)

(Reuters photo)

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