November 16, 2004

Fortunoff to Sell Majority Stake

Fortunoff, an upscale privately-owned retailer in the New York metro area has decided to sell a majority stake, in order to better compete with WM and others:

Fortunoff, the famed furniture and jewelry seller, said late last night it is selling a majority stake to two private investors, making it the latest in a long line of local retailers to give up its independence in an era of relentless competition....

They hope to open two new superstores in the next three years, and are looking at locations out of its New York-New Jersey base. Florida, Pennsylvania and Virginia have been mentioned as possible locations.

Fortunoff started with a single storefront in Brooklyn 82 years ago and grew to be a favorite destination for generations of Long Island and New York City shoppers. The shops - there are now four superstores, plus nine satellite stores offering selected categories of merchandise, including the Fifth Avenue jewelry store in Manhattan - won intense loyalty from customers, who came for the personal service and high-quality goods at discount prices...

But independent, locally based chains selling general merchandise have not been able to survive the onslaught of giant discounters like Wal-Mart. Some of the local chains have sold out to their rivals, often under pressure, and some simply shut their doors, as Swezey's did late last year.

Note: I worked in a Fortunoff warehouse one summer. Good pay. Decent bosses. Outdated computer technology. No discount prices, and I don't really see it competing with Wal-Mart; Fortunoff's service is/was A+.

Posted by Kevin on November, 16 2004 at 10:49 AM