Somehow the fluorescent lighting, teeming masses, and aluminum-roofed, concrete-floor scenery of a warehouse club don't quite bring to mind super high-end jewelry, but Wal-Mart's
Sam's Club is offering such inconsequential trinkets as, oh, a $300,000 diamond necklace (with 75 diamonds) and a $260,000 ring (sporting a 3.85 carat pink diamond) -- both billed as "one of a kind." While rather bulky accessories, the whole "one-of-a-kind" idea is quite a departure from the retailer's usual crates of identical bulk items.
Both of these jewelry pieces are, not surprisingly, only available online. However, the Sam's Club website sells several other high-price baubles that are available in-store as well.
So Sam's Club and other warehouse clubs hardly scream "classy shopping," and luxury retailers such as Tiffany
Whether or not these over-the-top Sam's Club items sell, it may very well suggest that it's a viable destination for unexpectedly upscale gifts. Recent indications that the economy is picking up steam again may coax some consumers to get a little wild during this holiday season, and Sam's Club appears ready for the possibility.
As for warehouse firms' reputation for bargains, the prices mentioned above may not sound exactly cheap. Take into consideration, however, that the Sam's Club website says the necklace is normally worth about $576,000 and the ring $450,500.
The jewelry arena is wide and varied, and Sam's is competing with both ends of the spectrum, from high-end retailers to the likes of Costco. Positioning itself as "special" with one-of-a-kind items is an interesting new angle for the holiday season.
If you had $300,000 burning a hole in your pocket, would you consider a Sam's Club splurge, or would you prefer tried-and-true jeweler Tiffany? Debate with other Fools on the Retail discussion board.
Alyce Lomax welcomes your feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org.