MARCH 8, 2007
What have we done? Daddy would know what to do, but I don't. I really thought growing this business would be an easy thing for us, but now I am not so sure. All of the work that we did in 2005 was supposed to set us up for new success, profits, and a bright future. But now, we are showing losses on both the historical investment and on our modernization and expansion. Gretchen Reeves was talking in early February 2007 with her sister and partner Michaela Hurd after receiving preliminary income statements for Halstead Jewelers for fiscal year 2006 which had ended January 31, 2007 (See Exhibit 1). In a new building, just renovated in 2005, with 50% more space and selling staff than ever before, the business had experienced a loss almost double the income of the last "normal" year, 2004. To Gretchen, this did not bode well for the future. The sisters grandfather established Hallstead Jewelers 83 years earlier in the largest city in the tri-state region. For more than 50 years, until his death, he had nurtured and grown the original store from a start up to one of the largest jewelry and gift stores in the United States. Four departments sold almost everything that customers expected in a jewelry and gift store: fine jewelry and gems, watches, tabletop gifts (china and flatware), and artistic gifts. Customers came from throughout the region to buy from extensive collections in each department. Any gift from Hallstead's had an extra cache attached to it. It was presumed to be the best. When Grandfather died, the store was left to his only son, who had literally grown up in the store to become his father's partner in the business. That son was the father of both Gretchen and Michaela. Another child, their brother James, had shunned the business to study medicine and surgery. The girls, however, followed in their father's footsteps and grew up in the store, learning the business. At the death of their father in 2002, the three children inherited the business as equal partners, and by agreement with James, Gretchen and Michaela took over the management of the business and store. At the time of the sisters' assumption of the ownership and management of the store, it was still operating in the original store location on Lake Avenue and Second Avenue. In the late 1930's, Lake Avenue became the most important retail location in the city. The store was improved and provided elegant space for the display and sale of their products. It was a destination-shopping place. The store was remodeled and redecorated again after the founder died, but the location and space remained the same until 2004. Professor William J. Bruns prepared this case. 1-i135 cues are developed solely as the basis fix class discussion. The company mentioned in the case is fictional. Cases are not intended to serve as endorsements, sources of primary data, or illustrations of effective or ineffective managenient. Copyright CO 2007 President and Fellows of Harvard College. To order copies or request permission to reproduce materials, call 1-R00-145-7685, write liarvard Busins School Publishing, Boston. MA 02163, or go to http://www.hbsp.harvard.edu. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, used in a spreadsheet, or transmitted in any form or by any means—electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise—without the permission of Harvard Business School.
In the meantime, the principal retail shopping areas shifted two blocks west to Washington Street. Stores were larger there and could accommodate department stores and larger specialty retailers. But reputation and selection still brought customers to Lake Avenue for the selections at Hallstead's. Shopping centers were developed in suburban locations, but Hal!stead Jewelers stayed put. The sisters' father saw the changes in the retail landscape, but he took no action because of them....
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