2007-08-20 07:45:33
'Tiger' Tamed on Bay Street
Solomon's Mines tries to make it look like a strategy shift but the truth is, Tiger and his cubs couldn't cut it in the luxury retail market.

When Garet 'Tiger' Finlayson bought Solomon's Mines a little over three years ago he promised he would "set a new standard for Duty Free Shopping in The Bahamas." Nobody knew he meant a new low standard.

After failing miserably when forced to compete without his usual PLP crony deals, 'Tiger' Finlayson's luxury retail empire is crumbling as he struggles desperately to keep his tail from being clipped by creditors.

The pathetic Nassau Guardian tried to put a happy spin on the story by pretending that Mr Finlayson is merely restructuring the company, when in fact, as a local retail expert says, "he has run the Solomon's operation into the ground."

The Guardian published this misleading gem:

"A Bahamian merchant synonymous with high-end retail is shifting down market to differentiate itself from the crowded field and better capture cruise stopover and domestic traffic," writes the Guardian.

Even more ludicrous is this next line:

"Solomon's deliberate shift in buying comes as the retail chain pares back, announcing last week its intention to close four of its 11 Bay Street locations."

"Deliberate shift"?! Who does the Guardian think they are kidding?

Having creditors hound you for money and being unable to fill your stores with appropriate merchandise is not exactly a "deliberate shift".

One problem was that Mr Finlayson put his two inexperienced kids in charge of running the retial business. One local business expert said that Tiger's son, Mark Finlayson, "knows as much about business as Perry Christie did about ethics... next to nothing."

Tiger's daughter, Nikki Boeuf, was in charge of buying merchandise, a difficult task for someone who allegedly can't tell a Lalique from a lollipop.

In the meantime, while Tiger and his cubs are "repositioning", their competitors at John Bull, the people behind four of Bay Street's glitziest boutiques, seem set to continue servicing the top end of this country's billion dollar tourism industry.

Earlier this year John Bull opened its new Cartier Boutique, adding that brand to its Bay Street stable which includes Gucci, Coach, Rolex and David Yurman.
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