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Rapaport Conference livens the industry knowledge base
Encourages interaction at various levels and on various subjects
By: Diamond World News Service
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Sep 12 2008 8:15AM
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Reference: 3037  

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The Rapaport International Diamond Conference 2008 held at the Waldorf-Astoria hotel in New York City, turned out to be a collective platform for retailers, manufacturers and wholesalers to discuss current trends of the diamond industry and engage in knowledge sharing. Within the generic discussions on present economic situation, rising prices for larger diamonds, India and China emerging as important markets, Zale Corp. Chief Executive Officer Neal Goldberg delivered an action plan taking his company as an example to explain how retailers and wholesalers can confront the economic stress.

Goldberg addressed the audience with a backdrop into the company’s weak aspects like inefficiency, poor-quality jewellery products offered at competing prices and merchandise stock that floated in the value sector - "sea of sameness." Through his survey across all Zale stores in the country, he concluded the company needed to change its product mix, to focus on consumer need. In his research he found a lack of enthusiasm from the salesperson and the brand name received a low response of just 10 percent. He also proposed Zale to reduce its vendor base by two-thirds, concentrating on its relationships with a few "true partners."

The Conference also included individual opinions from Gerald Celente of Trend Research Institute, who predicted the U.S. economic situation to worsen like that the Great Depression of the 1930s, Gemological Institute of America Chairman Ralph Destino who presented a speech on diamond branding, urging retailers to brand both their inventory and their stores. The Adalah-NY came forth with strong protests against the billionaire diamantaire Lev Leviev, at the venue of the conference, hading out flyers outside the hotel. Leviev's Madison Avenue retail store is located within blocks of the Waldorf-Astoria.

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