Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

Check Out Line: Jewelry market a two-headed monster

August 27, 2010

TIFFANYCheck Out how job jitters among the U.S. hoi polloi contributed to a sales shortfall at Tiffany’s.

Tiffany put out stellar second -quarter results, thanks to Asian and European shoppers snapping up its snazzy jewelry and U.S. shoppers shelling out more bucks per transaction. But all in all, U.S. sales disappointed because shoppers are nervous again and apparently can wait to spend $200 on earrings — a sentiment backed by word from the U.S. government that economic growth in the second quarter was less robust than first reported.

The U.S. jewelry market has turned into a two-headed beast. On one side is a broad base of consumers who are freaked out by the daily barrage of news pointing to a still sluggish economy and a dismal job market. On the other are the wealthy, who are dropping thousands of dollars on necklaces and watches.

Tiffany’s report echoed comments from Signet Jewelers, the parent of Kay Jewelers, on Thursday.   That’s when Signet said results were boosted by sales at its higher end. It said the wealthy are doing just fine, while regular Joes are thinking twice about buying bling.

Also in the basket:

- Jeweler Pandora’s owners ready IPO
- Altria raises dividend for second time this year

(Reuters photo)

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