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May 2003

The Diamond Trading Co. (DTC) of De Beers has set a target of increasing diamond jewelry sales worldwide by 50 percent over the next 10 years, DTC officials said at a press conference at the recent Basel fair.

“We saw a three percent growth in diamond jewelry sales last year. If this rate is maintained, we will certainly achieve a 50 percent increase in 10 years,” said Stephen Lussier, director of marketing for the DTC.

According to Lussier, jewelry retail sales are finally achieving sales growth comparable to the growth of other luxury goods, proof that diamonds are now gaining market share in the luxury sector.

He credited this to the DTC’s Supplier of Choice policy, which he said has already made an impact in the market.

Lussier provided the following statistics as evidence:

– Incremental trade advertising spending has already hit $178 million in three years, well on its way to reaching the target set by the DTC of $200 million by 2004.

– 2002 diamond jewelry sales were better than expected, with a strong end of year Christmas sales boost, especially in the U.S. It is also surprising how well diamond demand held up given the recession.

– Almost all the major consuming markets increased sales in 2002, with the only exceptions were Japan and parts of Europe.

– Over 4 million more pieces of diamond jewelry were sold compared to 2001. 2002 was therefore the second largest diamond jewelry sales year ever, following the Millennium year of 2000.

– Retail value of diamond jewelry increased by 3% in both U.S. dollars and average local currency terms.

At a press conference in Basel, the DTC said that sightholders chosen to participate in the Supplier of Choice program would stay in the program for an initial period of two years, at which time the DTC would review their progress. Additional sightholders can expect to be notified by sometime mid-year if they have been chosen .

The DTC has helped set up about 200 branding initiatives in the Supplier of Choice program. They have also placed more than 200 sales and marketing experts in about 15 markets to help companies establish brands.

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