Blue Nile, the Internet's largest diamond retailer, says 2008 is off to a disappointing start as consumers pull back on buying top-of-the-line jewelry.
...."Consumers are holding back," Blue Nile founder Mark Vadon told analysts during a conference call after the close of regular trading. "We're in a very, very transitional time right now, and the market is relatively weak."
....Vadon called 2007 an "excellent year for the company" but painted a different picture for 2008.
He said Blue Nile has begun to experience "weakness at very high price points," shooting a hole through the theory that wealthy consumers would continue to splurge on luxury products despite economic turmoil.
....Sales of jewelry with price tags above $25,000 "all of a sudden are very, very weak," Vadon said. "The very, very high-end consumer is finally showing some vulnerability."