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 A Business Dilemma

The Clifton Review 


The Clifton Review is a tri-weekly column that examines the question of the Clifton project along with the evolution of the war between two billionaires. We covered the start of this war with articles describing the battle over easement rights, the mysterious burning of a home, the blocks to rebuilding, and countless questionable court filings.


While the 2018 series salutes fashion mogul Peter Nygård’s Golden Jubilee detailing his rags to riches story, his incredible business success over these past fifty years and an inside look at how he did it, The Clifton Review will also continue to address current affairs as they relate to the good of The Bahamas.



A Business Dilemma


By P.J. Malone



His multi-million-dollar business was under serious threat. After dominating the manufacturing industry in Canada for years, fashion mogul Peter Nygard sensed a change.


There was a move among major retailers in the late 80s and early 90s to shift from polyester products, but Nygard had developed a popular product among his customers that made him the ‘King of Polyester’ in the industry.


This created a dilemma for him: He had a very loyal customer base and he did not want to lose them by making such dramatic shifts in product. Yet, he wanted to protect his company from getting squeezed out in terms of floor space and presentations within the major department stores.


So now what? Faced with two high-risk considerations, Nygard had to calculate the risk on several levels. He did not want to lose his loyal customer base nor did he want to lose his retail clients.


He came up with a unique strategy, but one that only added to his challenge. Nygard decided to open his own retail stores so he could continue to meet the needs of his customers and also balance any loss of product placement space within department stores.


However, he knew very well that if the big department stores thought that he was interfering with them—in terms of a manufacturer becoming a retailer now trying to compete with them—they would stop carrying his products altogether.


Nygard knew his strategy could only work he if could convince the department stores that he was not intending to compete with them.


Being the brilliant strategist that he is, he did several things to address this new dilemma so that the department stores wouldn’t see him as a threat.


  • Nygard explained to the department stores carrying his products that there was a need to compliment the products that they sell, and he felt very strongly that he should open his own department stores to be able to do that.
  • He made it clear that the focus of these stores was to act like a test tube for new product ideas and discover more about their customers and their desires, which would benefit the department stores.
  • He offered the major department stores the opportunity to partner with his stores.


  • He promised to always sell the products at regular price and never reduce it.


This worked! This was at a time when manufacturers did not compete with retailers or they would not survive. However, he had eliminated the threat. As Nygard’s retail business grew and he lived up to his word, the trust between him and his department store partners grew.


Making this move not only allowed Nygard to protect his customer base and secure his relationship with the department store partners, it also allowed him to experiment with other products and expand his offerings. Such as Nygard’s signature silk line.


He had developed what was considered a sensational silk product that was very popular and had a prominent position in one of the major upscale department stores.  He was designing and producing everything from Tan Jay fashion line polyester, an edgier fashion, to the Peter Nygård Signature collection, even to the extent of having Peter Nygård Signature silk in Saks Fifth Avenue for many years.


Peter Nygard had turned a high-risk dilemma into a win-win situation for all of the stakeholders, which exponentially increased his success.


We’ll break down the risk considerations for an applicable risk assessment tool in our upcoming edition.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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