Business Case Studies, Managing in Troubled Times Case Study, Trouble at Tiffany, in Japan

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Managing in Troubled Times Case Study

Case Title:

Trouble at Tiffany in Japan

Publication Year : 2005

Authors: Ruchi Mankad, Dr. A.V Vedpuriswar

Industry: Retailing


Case Code: TRT0033A

Teaching Note: Not Available

Structured Assignment: Not Available

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The internationally renowned jewelry company, Tiffany had been facing problems in their second largest market, Japan, since 2002. After performing commendably even during the times of deep economic recession in Japan, Tiffany’s sales in Japan was slipping since the last couple of years, while other jewelry retailers were flourishing.

The case explores the probable reasons for Tiffany not performing as per their expectation. Tiffany’s core customers had remained the affluent class, but to attract younger and less affluent customers, it also introduced and promoted less expensive products which had tarnished its elite image. Their retailing strategy of opening majority stores in department stores through which traffic of their target customers was decreasing, had backfired. Tiffany’s principal strategy in Japan had been to focus on their expensive bridal jewelry especially traditional engagement rings. With changes in the Japanese traditions, preferences of Japanese consumers and with the aging of the Japanese population their strategy has turned questionable. Managing the fluctuation in the Yen-Dollar exchange rate, also became a matter of concern.

Pedagogical Objectives:

  • To analyse the Japanese jewellry market and discuss the reasons for Tiffany’s troubles in Japan
  • To suggest strategies that Tiffany should formulate to regain its position in Japan
  • To recognise the opportunities and challenges in store for a global jewellry retailer.

Keywords : Tiffany; Mitsukoshi; Wholesaling; Retailing; Retailing strategy; Japan recession; Japanese jewelry market; Japanese consumer; Managing in Troubled Times Case Study; Segmenting; Targeting; Positioning; Currency fluctuation; New Product introduction; Expansion Strategy; Competition; Consumer Behavior; Baby Boomers; Product Management


  • The Tiffany Story
  • The Japanese Consumer
  • Retailing In Japan
  • Attracting Younger Customers
  • Tiffany Blues

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