Case Detail

Case Summary

Focus on Diamond Retailing: Blue Nile, Zales, and Tiffany

Case Number: 5-408-754, Year Published: 2009

HBS Number: KEL394

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Authors: Sunil Chopra; Roby Thomas

Key Concepts

Supply Chain Management, Retailing, Analyzing Business Models, Economic Crisis


The case focuses on the diamond retailing industry toward the end of 2008, with the United States in an economic downturn. All diamond retailers are hit by the downturn and are facing a critical look at their strategies. Given the basic performance information on Blue Nile, Zales, and Tiffany, students are asked to consider the strengths and weaknesses of each business model with the goal of understanding business models that are better suited to handling a downturn.

Learning Objectives

The learning objectives of the case are to (1) understand the link between supply chain structure and financial performance, (2) identify key drivers of supply chain performance and how they affect a firm’s ability to respond during periods of strong or weak demand, and (3) develop the alignment between supply chain structure and strategic position for a firm.

Number of Pages: 11

Extended Case Information

Teaching Areas: Operations

Teaching Note Available: Yes

Geographic: United States

Industry: Diamond Retailing

Organization Name: Blue Nile, Zales, Tiffany

Organization Size: Medium

Year of Case: 2008