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De Beers wants to continue driving diamond demand


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Johannesburg, Jan 20 (I-Net Bridge) Diamond giant De Beers believes it should continue to drive demand for diamonds at the retail level, said De Beers group managing director Gareth Penny.
Penny, who was addressing a DTC Sightholder Reception in London on Tuesday night, said the group must come up with new strategies and business models to respond to the challenges of what has been dubbed the "new normal" the attitude of consumers in a time where the recession is giving way to a recovery.
"We believe we should continue to drive demand for diamonds at the retail level," said Penny.
"At De Beers, we have been working on new ways to drive demand, both proprietarily through De Beers Diamond Jewellers and the Forevermark, and collectively through the International Diamond Board and Q4-type marketing ideas like Everlon. The demand strategy for the future must be driven by principally by pull from excited consumers at retail," he added.
Penny said there were three forces that De Beers believed would have an impact the diamond industry in the future.
These were the decline in supply of rough diamonds from a mining point of view; changes in demand patterns both from the increasing demand from emerging markets like China and India, and also shifts in demographics in the mature markets like the US and increased challenges to diamonds from both a reputational point of view and potentially alternative products.
Looking back on 2009, Penny said the diamond industry was forced to take painful and extraordinary actions in the short-term so it could enjoy long-term growth but he said the industry had risen to the challenge.
He said while the industry has been through a lot, and is by no means back to normal with the short term still uncertain but evidence that the recession has begun to give way to recovery.
"I believe that the idea of what is normal the period that ended in mid-2008 is now abnormal. Instead, the diamond industry is the author of the `new normal`, a more sustainable state that fully appreciates the diamond as a finite `treasure of nature` and acts accordingly," Penny said.
He said in the `new normal`, just as during the depths of the recession, De Beers will need to focus on strategy, finance, operations, our people and stakeholder management.
"We have all had to change the way we manage our businesses in order to survive. But as the world around us continues to change faster than it ever has before, we are forced to change with it. And indeed this is change that we can`t expect to happen to us or for us. It is a change we must drive, deliberately and consciously, in everything we do," said Penny.
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