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I have been in the jewelry industry long enough to know that the Caribbean represents a hot spot for fine-jewelry sales. But until a family cruise last week, I had no idea how important jewelry sales are down there.

The night before each stop on my Royal Caribbean cruise, I found on my bed a guide to the island's shopping with a listing of dozens of jewelry stores. The ship also provided seminars for vacationers looking for fine-jewelry deals as well as coupons for preferred jewelers. The streets of each port seemed lined with nothing but souvenir shops and fine-jewelry stores (selling everything from branded luxury items to semiprecious giftables), and I am not sure which ones had more traffic.

At dinner each night, women would walk into the dining rooms showing off their newly acquired, duty-free Cartier watches and Mikimoto pearls. Of course I couldn't help but think that the jewelry stores in their hometowns had missed out on a hefty sale. Is it really possible for a local store to compete with stores that can capitalize on vacation mentality and offer duty-free prices that appeared 20 percent or more below prices in the states?



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Filed Under: Retailing



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