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'As a jewelry store, your competition isn't the jewelry store across town, but the Internet and discounters. Enhancing the in-store experience should be the focus. Luxury consumers do have more money, but they are conscious of value and do their research on the Internet. So you can't just put something out there without justifying it; they can find a substitute out there.'
The long-term weakness of the U.S. economy had led to long-lasting changes in consumer behavior that the retail jewelry industry is struggling to keep up with, experts say. Not that the industry is alone in its difficulties figuring out how to survive and grow in the current economic environment. Evidence of the inadequacy of traditional economic metrics to describe the widespread economic weakness, let alone to guide policymakers, is constantly available amid widespread speculation that the U.S. and world economy may be in for many years of slow growth and high unemployment.
Although the recession that officially began in December 2007 has been over for many months now, the modest GDP increases of recent quarters have not been sufficient to encourage employers to add jobs, leaving the U.S. unemployment rate stuck at 9.5 percent for July, a figure that would have seemed unimaginable two-and-a-half years ago. Congressional disputes over extending long-term unemployment benefits reflect the fact that millions of people have been our of work for periods of time that are unprecedented in recent decades, leading some to give up looking for work entirely.