Rapaport TradeWire – Friday, February 27, 2009

By Rapaport

Debswana, the worlds largest diamond producer, to shut operations until April 15 and suspend production of two mines through 2009. We estimate the move will reduce their annual production by about 20% or by 6-7 mil. cts. De Beers to borrow $500 mil. from shareholders, 2008 rough sales flat at $5.9 bil. even though they increased prices by 14%. 2008 profits at $90 million. Gold passes $1,000/oz for first time since March 2008. U.S. Jan. jewelry price index +5%. German and Indian jewelry shows better than expected. Zale 2Q sales -18% to $679 mil. with loss of $24 mil. and plans to close 115 stores. Birks & Mayors 3Q sales -28% to $88 mil. with $42.7 mil. loss. Bidz.com 4Q jewelry sales -44% to $35 mil. profits -64% to $3 mil. J. C. Penney 4Q sales -10% to $5.8 bil. same store sales -11% and profits -51% to $211 mil. with jewelry ranking as weakest category. Macao 4Q watch, jewelry sales +22% to $138 mil. Fortunoff liquidates. Finlay to exit department stores and close 40 specialty boutiques.

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The founder and president of Diamond Cutters International, is one of the worlds top diamond experts, as well as a three-time Guinness Book record holder in jewelry design.
Fred The Diamond Guy
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