Tiffany unlikely to sell lawn chairs

June 11, 2009

Tiffany & Co has no intention of selling garden furniture and risking brand dilution, steering clear of the product mix of bankrupt rival jeweler Fortunoff , CEO Michael Kowalski hinted this week at the Reuters Global Luxury Summit in New York.

Fortunoff filed for bankruptcy in February in part because of dismal holiday sales in 2008 and the high expense of expanding into Lord & Taylor stores, and was bought by liquidators, marking the end of an 87-year iconic presence in the New York area during which it was known for its jewelry and home furnishing.  It had been bought by Lord & Taylor’s owner NRDC Equity Partners, in March 2008 for $100 million.

Asked if Fortunoff’s demise offered his company any lessons, Kowalski declined to address Fortunoff directly but said it would be better for Tiffany to continue to concentrate on what it is known for.

 ”We are relatively focused on jewelry and watches, ” Kowalski.  “We look at ourselves as a jeweler not a lifestyle brand.”

In other words, don’t expect Tiffany-branded deck chairs any time soon.

(UPDATES TO INCLUDE MORE DETAIL ON ITS BANKRUPTCY, AND TO REFLECT IT HAD BEEN SELLING HOUSEWARES FOR MANY YEARS.)

2 comments

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This is a completely absurd article. Fortunoff sold home furnishings from the beginning, even before it sold jewelry. It was a leader in outdoor furniture and this had nothing to do with its demise. Absurd to say it added these a few years back. Do some fact checking please.

Posted by david | Report as abusive

David has it right. Fortunoff added outdoor funishings 25 years ago to complement the indoor home-goods line. While Fortunoff was known for it’s fairly-priced, high quality jewelry, more business was always done from the home-goods side.

Fortunoff’s demise was a combination of several factors. Not expanding aggressivly in the 1980′s, consumers settling for more down-market retailers, a loss of interest in the business from later-generation family, and corporate take-over artists who seemed more interested in the write-off than actually investing in the business.

Sad days indeed. Fortunoff closed it’s doors forever on June 2nd.

Posted by Andrew | Report as abusive

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