Axios Pro: Retail Deals

September 14, 2022

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Hello, Retail Readers. Welcome back.

Situational awareness: Key Starbucks union organizers and labor experts are testifying today before the House Committee on Education and Labor.

1 big thing: Pandora expands into the lab

Photo illustration of Luciano Rodembusch with diamonds and abstract shapes.
Photo illustration: Gabriella Turrisi/Axios. Photo: Pandora

Pandora wants to dazzle consumers beyond the bracelets and charms it’s best known for as it expands into more affordable lab-created wares, its president of North America, Luciano Rodembusch, tells Kimberly.

Why it matters: The company is hoping to capitalize on a post-COVID rebound in the personal luxury and diamond jewelry markets, driven by wedding demand and affluent consumers, by broadening its offerings.

What’s happening: The Copenhagen, Denmark company is launching a lab-made diamond jewelry line in the U.S. and Canada, aimed at bringing the gem to the masses.

  • Lab-created diamonds are identical to their mined counterparts when it comes to their optical, chemical, thermal and physical properties, the company says, but are produced with 100% renewable energy and a reduced carbon footprint.
  • The collection also uses completely recycled silver and gold.

State of play: The move underscores the strategy set by Pandora CEO Alexander Lacik, who joined the company in April 2019.

  • To grow in core markets of the U.S. and China, as well as bring in new clients, the company needed to expand its assortment, Rodembusch says.
  • The global diamond jewelry market is estimated to be $84 billion, according to Bain & Co.
  • Pandora offers a full set of jewelry, in gold, in silver, beyond charms outside of the wrist.
  • Last year, one-third of sales were from new clients, Rodembusch says.

What they’re saying: “We believe that this will make diamonds at the moment, more affordable, more desirable because more people will have access to it,” Rodembusch says.

  • “Affordability and collectability is at the core of what we do.”

Context: Many major jewelry retailers have expanded their assortments to speak to consumers’ calls for more sustainable jewelry and stones.

  • Retailers like Tiffany & Co, as well as recent merger partners Signet and Blue Nile, have released lines made of recycled or reclaimed gold and repurposed diamonds.

What’s next: Pandora could expand its portfolio into new areas as well, Rodembusch says — though he declined to give specifics.

  • “If you look at the breadth of our portfolio — rings, necklaces, different shapes and forms — it’s natural that we're going to put that more into some of those collections," he says.
  • Pandora could set its eyes on the fashion market in the future as well, he adds.
  • The company will also continue expanding its collaborations after seeing successes with Disney and its Marvel and Winnie the Pooh anniversary lines.

Yes, and: The company launched Pandora ME last year, which was a collection focused on the Gen Z consumer.

  • The product line is more colorful, customizable and “a little bit more edgy,” he says.

Meanwhile, Pandora is testing a new omnichannel approach to its stores where the customer can buy products online, get them at home or pick items up in the store.

  • The stores will enable customers to interact more with the products inside.
  • He said the company has rolled out the model in three stores — two in the New York area and one in Christiana Mall in Delaware.

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