Tiffany and Co. Expands Affordable Line for Holiday Shoppers
In finely pressed suits with iconic Tiffany blue accents sales men and women great shoppers at the door of the 5th Avenue Tiffany and Co. flagship location as they have done since 1940. Shoppers are escorted to and from each glass case, examining diamonds, pearls and sterling silver jewelry.
The scene is reminiscent of Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Customers embody Audrey Hepburn as they try on the jewelry of their dreams. However in the current economic state, most customers are only window-shopping as jewelry at Tiffany’s is just as notorious as their prices.
The retailer’s high cost has persuaded shoppers to look elsewhere for holiday gifts as most Black Friday shoppers are looking for bargains. Concerns over the possible decline of sales due to prices caused shares at Tiffany’s to drop nearly 7 percent since Monday according the New York Stock Exchange. In an effort to compensate for a less than predicted profit gain Tiffany’s is offering more affordable jewelry options for holiday shoppers after reporting a quarterly profit outlook that is shy of Wall Street expectations.
“In recent years we’ve expanded our more affordable lines,” said Tiffany and Co. saleswoman Brooke Bowen. “When you have expensive jewelry you also have to compensate for those with lower budgets. Not everyone can afford to spend thousands.”
Record sales for major retailers were reported Monday for Black Friday shopping with an increase of 6.6 percent over last year’s sales, and the S&P 500 Retail ETF reported a 3.5 percent overall increase in stocks. Large retailers such as Macy’s and J.C. Penney reported increases over the S&P average due to their holiday bargains.
“High-end jewelers have been having a hard time,” said custom jewelery supplier Angel Lanzo. “People are looking for bargains and just can’t afford to spend the big bucks.”
Tiffany’s now offers a collection of jewelry for those with tighter budgets for under $250, challenging the notion of only elite prices. The retailer is expecting the affordable line to help attain a fourth quarter profit roughly .10 cents short of what analysts have predicted according to Thomson Reuters.
Even so, some shoppers will be left dreaming of diamonds and pearls as even a couple hundred dollars is out of many shoppers price range.
“I’ve recently moved to New York and was hoping to buy myself a gift to remember the experience,” said Rachel Abbott. “But even the affordable prices are out of my New York City budget.”
Residential permit parking in Brooklyn is unlikely to happen anytime soon, Assemblywoman Joan Millman told Community Board 2 on Wednesday evening in answer to questions about whether the system will be in place before the planned opening of the Barclays Center arena in September.
“If it’s going to happen, it’s not happening for a while,” said Assemblywoman Millman, whose 52nd District includes Brooklyn Heights, DUMBO, Park Slope, Prospect Heights, and Vinegar Hill. Before a proposal could be voted on in Albany, it would have to pass through the Assembly Transportation Committee. That vote has not been scheduled yet.
Wednesday’s meeting at the 10-month-old campus of Berkeley College began with a welcome from the school’s Campus Operation Officer, Conrad Walker, who said that over 600 students have enrolled in courses at the school.
Here are some other highlights from the meeting:
– Assemblywoman Millman also discussed potential changes to the Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption program, which offers eligible senior tenants exemptions from rent increases. In 2009 the New York City transferred the program from the Department of Aging to the Department of Finance. Ms. Millman pushed for the program to be moved back to the Department of Aging after the city was found to be over paying landlords.
– John McCormick for Project Equal Access made a presentation on the program, which helps those with disabilities participate fully in housing, public accommodations, employment, education, and transportation.
State law requires housing developments and public places to provide access for those with disabilities. In New York City, Mr. McCormick said, the responsibility lies with the owner of the property to pay for the necessary changes in order to comply with state regulations.
– The District Manager for Community Board 2, Robert Perris, spoke of the growing number of muggings targeting electronic items in the area, and he appealed to the audience to protect themselves. According to last week’s police blotter, there were five iPhone robberies, in addition to a number of other robberies.
“Use street smarts,” Mr. Perris said. “Don’t broadcast your electronics.”
– The board voted on the inclusion of a Leonard Ursachi art installation titled “The Well” in Cadman Plaza Park. The instillation includes an 11-foot-tall well, a 5-foot-tall bucket and a 25-foot-high post. The artwork has been up since Oct. 29, and will remain until Apr. 30, 2012.
The Fort Greene Association‘s proposal to expand the Fort Greene Historic District has struck a cord with residents. Some homeowners have expressed fears that historic district regulations will be more restrictive than beneficial, even though experts suggest that these districts add value over time.
The FGA and the Landmarks Preservation Commission met with resistance from members of the community during a meeting last month when addressing questions about the expansion. The new proposal would extend the original historic district boundaries, in place since Sept. 26, 1978, to Myrtle Avenue from Carlton to Vanderbilt Avenue. Homeowners expressed their concerns about fines, mounting renovation costs, limitations on potential renovations and bureaucratic “red tape” that might result from the boundary expansion.
“The historic preservation community has done extensive work indicating that historic districts are good for the economy. They tend to drive property values up, be more stable, and benefit the neighborhood all of which are proven in countless studies,” said Jean Carroon, an architect and spokesperson for the American Institute of Architects Historical Committee. “People often reject expansion of historic districts because of the perception of an added layer of bureaucracy.”
The proposed guidelines would apply to all future construction or remodeling in the neighborhood. Residents would have to apply for a permit from the LPC for both internal and external renovations. The regulations would be stricter on external renovations in order to keep the streetscape as historically accurate as possible.
Renee Collymore, the landlord for the Greene Hill Food Co-op and founder of the Vanderbilt Avenue Block Association, is one of the Fort Greene homeowners reluctant to accept the proposed historic district expansion.
“In order to do any sort of work to our homes we need to get the consent of the commission. It’s unfair and unjust,” said Ms. Collymore. “These are our homes that we own, and I don’t feel as though I need to always call the commission to make changes.”
Some homeowners feel as though these guidelines might restrict investment potential by limiting future construction. Others are concerned that the regulations will increase the costs of future developments, preventing them from working on homes they purchased with the intention to remodel and resell them.
Paul Palazzo, the chairman of the FGA, sees the expansion as beneficial for the community and for current and future investments. Mr. Palazzo explained to the members of the community that renovation costs might not be as high as they anticipated.
“The fact of the matter is that if someone is planning a remodel, remodels aren’t cheap anyway,”said Mr. Palazzo. “A project that may cost $20,000 wouldn’t cost much more to stay within historic guidelines.”
John Johnson Jr., a manager at Fillmore Real Estate, recognizes the reluctance to buy into historic properties but also sees the potential for historic district expansion.
“Some people don’t like to go in because there are a lot of restrictions on what you can do to your property,” Mr. Johnson said. “As far as resale goes it’s pretty good. Some people want these types of homes. The markets good for historic homes.”
This is the preliminary phase of the landmarking process. The following steps will include further community outreach to answer any questions residents may have. Based on the level of community interest, the LPC will then decide whether to pursue the expansion of the historic district or move on to another neighborhood.
Community Board 2 approved the designs for bollard placement around the Barclays Center on Wednesday. The bollards, sidewalk security pillars required by the city, will prevent cars from driving onto the grounds.
“In a post 9/11 world we see bollards fairly frequently,” said Robert Perris, the district manager of Community Board 2.
Forest City Ratner, the company developing the Barclays Center, needed the approval of the committee in order to pass the plans on to the Department of Transportation by Sept. 22 for a final decision. After a public discussion with the development company, the board voted 29 in favor with none opposed and five abstentions.
Community board members had voiced concerns about the bollards’ appearance and potential sidewalk congestion. One board member, whose name was not announced, said that she didn’t want the Barclays bollards to look like the large concrete ones at the Atlantic subway terminal. (Plans are also underway to replace the Atlantic terminal bollards with a less intrusive design, the Brooklyn Paper reported in August.) She abstained from the vote.
The bollards won’t look like the “stone sarcophagi” at the Atlantic terminal, said Jane Marshall, senior vice president of Forest City Ratner. These were designed so that they would not be intrusive and would allow for foot traffic on both sides, Ms. Marshall said. The bollards will be 3-foot tall, steel-encased cylinders with a 12-inch diameter and they will placed four to five feet apart from each other, Ms. Marshall said.
The 206 bollards will surround the center on the sidewalks; 178 are fixed and 28 are removable to provide access to police or other city vehicles, Ms. Marshall explained. “The bollards will be set back so that they don’t hit people in the face when they get out of their cars,” Ms. Marshall said.
Images of the bollards were first made public in the Barclay Center Environmental Impact Statement in 2006, Forest City Ratner spokesman Joe DePlasco wrote in an e-mail.
For the past year the developer has worked with Department of Transportation on the review and approval of the bollard design and site layout, Mr. DePlasco wrote. Extensive review by various city agencies was recently completed, he wrote. Once the plan was vetted by the city, it went to the public for comments.
Local resident and committee member Hazra Ali voted for the bollards, saying, “It’s a good idea because it offers safety.”