Jewelry and Retail News

This is an interesting case about New Orleans Quarterback Drew Brees and his purchase of colored diamonds.

In his years as an expert witness, testifying in more than 100 cases, Cos Altobelli (pictured) has been involved in some big trials. But when the veteran appraiser testified at New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees’ lawsuit against a local jeweler, he knew this was no ordinary suit.

“If this was the average millionaire it wouldn’t have gotten quite the play that it did,” the president of Altobelli Jewelers in Burbank, Calif., tells JCK.

According to a complaint filed last April in San Diego Superior Court, Brees and wife Brittany bought $15 million in colored diamonds from San Diego retailer C.J. Charles Jewelers over the course of a decade. Owner Vahid Moradi had told him they would appreciate in value, it says.

The suit alleges that when Brees got the items appraised, he discovered the pieces were worth a lot less than he paid for them.

Last week, Brees won a $6.1 million judgment against the retailer, prevailing on all four counts. The jeweler says he’s disappointed with the verdict and will appeal. Altobelli also shared his views of an appropriate mark up on jewelry.

He cited an old rule of thumb from JCK archives.

If you get over $100,000 you are probably no making over 25 percent.

In this case Altobelli believed Brees had been charged at least double that

Everyone is entitled to a mark up and in this case 10 percent would have been suitable.

Altobelli believed, in this case, the jeweler was above and beyond the pricing for the diamonds and therefore the mark up ended up being more than reasonable. In this case, the ruling was justified.

How to Fix the problems in Department Stores

From 2007 – 2018 department store sales dropped 34 percent, $76.9 billion to $52 billion. And to add insult to injury, other general merchandisers, including warehouse clubs and superstores, rose 53.1% and electronic shopping increased 167% in the same time period.

Customers will be drawn back to department stores for the experience of shopping there. Yes, they want great products priced right, but that isn’t near enough. They want to actually enjoy the time they spend there. It takes “shop people” to deliver an exciting and engaging department store shopping experience.

Change employees to mostly full-time, those who tend to get in the game so to speak of the store, and make the stores more customer oriented. Home Depot and Lowes have experts in the various departments, why shouldn’t there be someone in the department store to help customers put a look together.

Adopt the showroom mentality instead of piles and piles of merchandise. And it takes forever to go through all the stacks and stacks of merchandise.

Adopt the store within a store, like JC Penney and Sephora. This concept makes it easier on the customer, its a one-stop for clothes, shoes, make-up, and jewelry.

Innovative retail ideas don’t originate from analysts’ spreadsheets or executives focused on the macro-economic factors impacting the business. It comes from store managers, department leaders and staff associates who are rubbing shoulders day-in, day-out with customers. The best retail ideas come from the shop floor.

To draw customers back in, the top group who are there to report to stockholders but at the same time they need to be more retail to implement the plans to bring the customer back inside the store.

Thank you JCK magazine

and Unity Marketing