Tiffany's CEO: No Haggling Allowed

Tiffany BoxReuters reports that Tiffany & Co is finding more people trying to bargain for lower prices at its stores. They won't be getting a discount. Tiffany & Co CEO Michael Kowalski says, "the price is the price is the price."
"Everyone feels compelled to ask the question for fear of feeling foolish after the fact," Tiffany Chief Executive Michael Kowalski said at the Reuters Global Luxury Summit in New York.

"And yes, the questions are being asked more often and the answer is the same -- the price is the price is the price."

Though Tiffany has suffered in the recession -- sales fell 22 percent in the past quarter -- it has vowed to hold the line on prices. Many investors and analysts argue that discounting would tarnish the Tiffany brand in the long run.

"The final price of a Tiffany piece of jewelry shouldn't be a function of how good a negotiator you are," Kowalski said. "I think that's a terrible disservice to the vast majority of folks who don't want to negotiate."
It's unclear how effective haggling is at upscale stores. There has not been a lot of reporting about it. It clearly won't work at Tiffany's jewelry stores. Haggling is also becoming more and more unlikely to work at other luxury retailers as many stores have been reducing inventory and are becoming less desperate to move merchandise.

Posted on June 11, 2009

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