Tiffany Earnings down 30% on Soft Economy.

Tiffany & Co. announced last Thursday that it is downgrading its full-year sales forecast amid slow revenue growth and a sharp drop in net earnings.

In the third quarter ended Oct. 31, Tiffany’s same-store sales in the Americas increased 1 percent while total sales were up 3 percent to $400 million.

Sales in the New York flagship store rose 5 percent in the period while comparable branch store sales fell 1 percent. Internet and catalog sales were up 3 percent.

Worldwide, same-store sales were up 1 percent for the New York-based retailer and total sales increased 4 percent to $852.7 million. Net earnings fell 30 percent, from $90 million to $63 million.

Should Internet Diamond Web Sites Pay State Sales Taxes On Your Engagement Rings?

Yes, say Brick and Mortar Retail jewelers who maintain that they are at distinct disadvantage versus their Internet competition and thus not operating on a level playing field. They are lobbying State legislatures as well as the Federal Government to enact law that will require Internet Jewelers and all Internet vendors to collect sales taxes.

What has operated in favor of Internet vendors is the strict definition of what constitutes an actual place of business, thanks to a 1992 U.S. Supreme Court decision. In Quill v. North Dakota, the court ruled that a company must have a “physical presence” for a state to require that company to collect sales taxes.

The Quill decision underscores an irony: While retailers and their affiliates may benefit from not charging online sales tax, the states those businesses are located in stand to lose big money every year. States are losing between $10 billion and $25 billion a year in online tax revenue, according to the Multistate Tax Commission in Washington, D.C. That’s money that would find its way into state treasuries if those sales took place in physical stores within their borders.

Case in point is Amazon.com. Amazon’s report to the Securities and Exchange Commission acknowledges that the price advantage with which the company starts out vis-à-vis local stores and other competitors that are obligated to charge sales taxes is a key strategic asset. By claiming sales tax immunity in the vast majority of states, Amazon has enjoyed a 5 percent to 10 percent price advantage over local retailers, while also depriving states and localities of hundreds of millions of dollars of revenue each year.

As the Internet grows and consumers make more purchases online; State legislators will face increasing pressure weighing the issue’s political implications vs. the need to raise needed revenue to pay off increasing deficits. Tax scholars will continue to debate exactly what defines a business’ “physical presence” in the context of 21st century Internet-based commerce, and the patchwork of different sales tax laws and relationships with the online business model will likely stay a muddled mess.

Our view is that with the current deficit ridden state of the US economy, the explosion of Federal entitlement programs, erosion of the tax bases due to rising unemployment, the pressure to enact Internet tax collection across State lines may very well become a reality sooner than you think.

A Heartfelt Testimonial For www.ExcelDiamonds.com

We continuously receive many testimonials from our happy customers and seldom do I post a testimonial for Excel Diamonds to this venue. However, for this testimonial which we received last night, I’m going to make a rare exception.

This heartfelt testimonial, which means everything to us, was submitted to us last night:
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“Barry,

What can I say other than…WOW and AMAZING….both describe you and your business.

Your customer service was both unbelievable and unexpected. On the first diamond we purchased, you called and were completely honest about the flaw and urged us not to buy it but we were hard headed and bought it anyway..and just as you had warned my wife was not happy.

We picked out another diamond and without a hitch you refunded the first diamond and mounted the second diamond we purchased perfectly onto my wife’s setting. All I can say is Thank You Thank you Thank you for you speedy and professional service. The only complaint I have is that we didn’t seek you guys out sooner, you’re absolutely wonderful. Thank you again, and you can count on our repeat business.

Thanks again — Ray”

Is It Ethical To Sell Diamonds Wholesale & Retail??

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With the evolution of the diamond industry and the revolutionary impact of the Internet, profit margins on the sale of loose diamonds and jewelry have been steadily shrinking.

Today’s diamond marketplace is incredibly competitive and profit margins are razor thin.
In this climate of “survival of the fittest”, an increasing number of companies are looking for a niche for the simple sake of surviving.

The Internet, which lures savvy diamond shoppers assured by maximum quality and value, has attracted the attention of many diamond wholesalers and manufacturers who are struggling to stay financially solvent and competitive.

Some of them have decided to give up selling diamonds through retail “bricks & mortar” jewelers who have no allegiance to their specific product and who simply sell “whatever moves”.

These diamond wholesalers were disillusioned with the fact that they were at the mercy of the retail stores with respect to shrinking sales, lack of timely payments, and lack of commitment to their specific product. As a result, they decided to cut out the middleman and took their merchandise directly to the public (end consumer).

With their exclusive commitment to their own product(s), they do the best job of promoting their merchandise and increasing conversions while cutting out the “overhead” and inherent liability of the middleman.

Indeed, the industry has seen some of these wholesalers and diamond manufactures alter their entire business model and bring their diamonds and jewelry directly to the consumer via an Internet (e-commerce) presence or a flagship B&M store(S).

However, there have also been a few diamond wholesalers who have decided to “play both sides of the fence”. Unwilling to give up the wholesale sales of loose diamonds through various retail stores, they opted instead to create an e-commerce diamond and jewelry website under a different name/address (disguise) in an effort to snag the retail diamond shopper on the Internet.

They wish to have their cake and eat it too.

They continue to sell wholesale diamonds through B&M establishments across the Country. Of course these retail stores attach a (healthy) profit to these loose diamonds in order to make a living.

At the same time, the very same wholesaler is offering the very same diamonds via his e-commerce website and directly competing with (and undermining) his retail accounts who are completely oblivious!

A customer who finds the very same diamond listed on the Internet for considerably less than what is being asked in the stores, will (unknowingly) circumvent the retail middleman and buy the same diamond for less directly from the same wholesaler!

Of course the wholesaler attaches a “retail” markup. However, he makes sure to be significantly cheaper than all of his retailers.

The companies who engage in these practices shall be left nameless since it is this writers personal opinion that what they are doing is completely unethical and it is not the purpose of this blog entry to expose these people.

The fact is, you are either a diamond wholesaler to the trade, or you are a diamond retailer to the end consumer.

To make an underhanded attempt at being both, is simply unethical and is in direct competition with your own retail customers.

In fact, if these retail B&M jewelers knew they were being undermined and undercut on the Internet by their own suppliers, they would in all likelihood immediately terminate their accounts (and long standing relationships) with these wholesalers.

These wholesalers are well aware of this inherent risk and therefore look to create a completely separate e-commerce diamond and jewelry website in the hope that it will not be linked to (or associated with) their own company.

What do you think?

Consumers Hate Internet Diamond & Jewelry Stores With Convoluted Policies.

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Got it??

So you have a diamond and jewelry website set up and you are ready to sell!

You spend a fortune of money and a ton of effort optimizing your site for maximum performance and visibility on the major search engines.

You engage in SEM to help with your internet exposure.

You might even display beautiful, quality products, at great prices!

Problem is, your policies absolutely STINK!

Some websites get so caught up with their products and visibility on the net, they forget how important it is to put forth clear and cogent policies geared towards facilitating a smooth and enjoyable shopping experience for their customers.

Some of the “best websites” have cumbersome and tedious policies with respect to their products and services, leaving consumers dazed and confused.

Do they offer a lifetime upgrade or not? They call in every diamond for an evaluation..but then they charge you for the shipping? They don’t charge for the initial shipment of the diamond to them..but they charge for the return shipping back to the manufacturer if you do not buy the stone.. They won’t sell a diamond they haven’t personally evaluated first…..and indeed this is promoted as a distinguishing “selling point”…..until you find out that they charge you money for the “service”.

They offer a collection of “their very own” “Signature Diamonds” which (fine print here..) they actually just source from a virtual diamond database.

They do offer a price match policy….but it depends on the diamond and who the competing vendor is…

They make no stipulation that you purchase a completed diamond engagement ring from their company…and yet……they won’t ship the loose diamond you just purchased to a different Internet seller who is earning your business on the ring setting.

They have no problems selling an engagement ring setting by itself….that is, until they find out that you purchased the loose diamond from their competition!!

Policies are often extremely convoluted and sometimes change from minute to minute and depending on which representative you happen to get on the phone at the time.

In my experience, clear and straightforward policies on the part of the seller, is just as important as the quality and value of the merchandise provided.

It is not easy for many to make the transition to buying (any) product(s) online. Therefore, efficient and clearly outlined policies can only help build consumer confidence and will ultimately help facilitate a smooth and enjoyable shopping experience.

Gorgeous & Unique Jewelry by YVEL!

Well, as you all know, I’m always on the lookout for new and interesting jewelry designs and creations for all of you jewelry lovers!

I always enjoy giving kudos and spreading love to the designers and manufacturers of unique and dazzling jewelry baubles and creations.

Enter Designs by YVEL.

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These guys caught my eye with their advertisement in a recent trade publication.

I took a look at their jewelry offerings and was quite impressed with the beauty and originality of their creations.

Their jewelry creations combine pearls, diamonds and precious gemstones in unique settings with a distinct look and a flair for the dramatic!

Check them out, I think you’re gonna love their stuff!

Jewelry Designs By Hanna Martin Making Waves

Jewelry Designer, Hanna Martin’s homepage hits you hard, with its no frills focus and philosophy.

“Jewelry for the decadent and dissolute. Luxury for the villainous and elegant. Beauty for the wild and untamed.

Welcome to the world of the fierce and glamorous. Where Hedonism rules with opulence and men will find treasure beyond their wildest dreams.”

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Their website homepage mug shot works well with their no nonsense approach to selling jewelry!

Hanna Martin doesn’t mince words and neither does the designers original jewelry designs.

These gorgeous and unique jewelry pieces are at once, hard hitting and assertive.
They almost force you to pay attention and take notice….and believe me you will get noticed!

The designer has been making waves in the jewelry and fashion industry, including a most
recent write up in Vogue magazine.

Here are two of their original designs.

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Solid gold spur and Tahitian pearl pendant.

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Gold rhodium plated ring studded with precious gems.

Designs By Vatche Launches New Updated Website!!

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As an authorized retailer for the fabulous Designs By Vatche diamond engagement rings and jewelry, we are pleased to announce the re-launch of the updated Vatche website, located at www.dvatche.com.

Here you will find Vatche’s famous bridal jewelry collection, featuring beautiful and timeless diamond engagement rings meant to be cherished forever!