Friday, December 02, 2011

Founded in 1887: Finlay Fine Jewelry

Based in New York, Finlay Fine Jewelry Corporation has long been the largest operator of licensed fine jewelry departments, specifically those that are located in department stores of throughout France and the United States. During the time when its business was prospering, it operated 900 departments in 36 different retailing groups.

Employees of the Finlay Fine Jewelry Corporation could be seen selling items at kiosks, typically those found outside of the department stores in various malls.  In order to catch the attention of shoppers, the displayed jewelry would frequently be offered at 50% off. One competitor objected to this practice, and that competing jeweler attempted to challenge its legality. That attempt failed to produce a substantiation of the accusations.
Baileys Fine Jewelry
The basis of that failed challenge was the allegation that Finlay conducted “unfair” business practices. According to that allegation, Finlay advertised discounts from a price that was not associated with a fixed cost. The accusing party tried to prove that this approach resulted in a financial loss for competitors. However, the accuser could not produce evidence that its sales plummeted on Saturdays or during the period leading up to Christmas. Those were the two times when Finlay kiosks always displayed an “on sale” sign.

Posted reviews about Finlay Fine Jewelry seem to back the decision of the judge that heard the case made by Finlay’s competitor. One reviewer indicated that at this challenged Corporation, “...Everything is an open book…” Some other reviewers addressed the charges that Finlay’s employees did not receive a sufficient amount of training.
One person who had worked for the challenged Corporation posted this comment: “…the training is extensive…” A second person offered even more information. That individual had this to say: “All the tools and the training are available to those who want to succeed and develop clientele…”

Since January of 1995, the same Corporation has had a new chairman and CEO, a man named Arthur Reiner. Before assuming his new position, he had been the chair of Macy’s East Division. Macys happens to be one of the stores where customers can examine and purchase Finlay Fine Jewelry.

What those customers discover is an extensive collection of watches, gold, precious gemstones, rings, necklaces, earrings, bracelets, diamonds and other designer jewelry. Customers’ readiness to purchase such items helped executives at Finlay to build the Corporation up to the point where it had a net worth of $500 million dollars.

Despite that impressive number, Finlay still suffered during the recent financial downturn. In September of 2010, it began closing all the jewelry stores with nameplates that included such well known names as Bailey, Banks and Biddle, Congress Jewelers, Carlyle and Company, J.E. Caldwell, Park Promenade and Zell Brothers Jewlers. The decision to close stores followed announcement of the fact that Finlay was declaring bankruptcy.

As Finlay executives seek to bring the company out of bankruptcy, they must look to the consumers for help. They hope that visitors to the areas where Finlay products continue to be displayed will take the time to examine and purchase items from the Company’s extensive line of fine jewelry.