Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Bling Biz - The Glitter Gulch is Growing

So according to the New York Post

Despite the financial crisis, a slew of upscale jewelers are opening and expanding new boutiques on some of the priciest blocks of Madison's venerable shopping strip on the Upper East Side.
For some reason I find this very amusing
Last week, the British diamond merchant Graff staged a lavish cocktail party to open a giant boutique at the corner of Madison and 63rd Street. The four-story, 4,000-square-foot store - built over two years at a cost of $14 million - has been decked out with imported marble and an array of solid bronze fixtures including a commode from a French designer.
"Other people would use regular brass and stain it to look like bronze," said Henri Barguirdjian, CEO of Graff America. "But no."
It must be the "But no" response...obviously no price is too high for Graff's interior decor.
While Luxe clothing boutiques are cutting back on expansion the jewelers are on a jaunt.
And while Asprey, Chopard, Pomellato and Leviev all opened new boutiques last year, new shops are coming soon - David Yurman, Girard-Perregaux, Carat and Jack Vartanian to name a few, she says.
"We used to call Madison the Gold Coast, but now it has become the Jewel Coast," Consolo said, comparing the strip to Bond Street in London and Place Vendome in Paris, where jewelry giants like Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels make their home.
And here's the economic reasoning
But jewelers offer another reason for the flurry of fresh leases: In a down economy, jewelry sales hold up better than clothing and accessories. If a super-wealthy shopper frets about buying a $10,000 handbag from Hermes, she might feel less guilty about a $50,000 diamond necklace because it's more likely to hold its value.
"When people are looking at their portfolios and moving money into cash, jewelry becomes an attractive place to invest," says Greg Kwiat of Kwiat Diamonds.
and high expectations
Alain Nemarq, president of Mauboussin - a 181-year-old French jeweler that opened a boutique two doors away from Graff last month - said despite the financial crisis he's sticking to a forecast for $2 million in holiday sales.
"It's always a very good time to love," Nemarq says.
Well now that the Stock Market has reached 2003 levels,
they better be hoping that there's a lot of love going around.
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