News flash: The Wall Street crisis is not painting a rosy outlook for companies that sell clothes. Let’s examine the numbers: Saks’ shares fell 6.4 percent yesterday, Ann Taylor’s fell 3.4 percent, and LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton’s fell 2.8 percent. And there are many more signs companies like these are quietly freaking out. Retailers like Club Monaco and Banana Republic aren’t opening new stores. An anonymous CEO of a national specialty chain told WWD the crash would “kick everyone’s ass,” while another economist said consumers are likely not to spend in such a crisis. And an executive at Missoni USA said, “I’m uncomfortable and conservatively optimistic. I’m worried that it’s a truly challenging moment.”
But not everyone is shaking in their $700 open-toed booties. Namely, those who sell big fat diamonds. WWD reports:
“So far this year, we haven’t really felt any downside because of the Wall Street situation,” said Henri Barguirdjian, president and CEO of Graff in the U.S., where the average retail sales ranges from $160,000 to $200,000. “We are dealing with a segment of very high-income people, in most cases very new wealth, and these people understand that it’s important to have a certain percentage of what they own in precious stones and jewelry because it keeps appreciating. So in that respect, we are very lucky, and we are still doing well.”
Hey, Barguirdjian, maybe while you’re rubbing it in, you could send one of your customers over to the Missoni store — have her buy a new scarf with which to shine her giant diamonds. Just to make your retail brethren feel a little bit better.