Otsuka Kagu Ltd: Saving the Furniture Business
Founded in 1969 as a small operation, Otsuka Kagu, Ltd. became Japan's largest furniture retailer and was listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange in 1980. A membership program in 1993 managed to revitalize the company's sales at a time when Japan was in a recession. Years later, after sales began to decline and the founder was convicted of insider trading in 2008, the presidency was transferred to the founder's daughter, who applied a more customer-centric model to the business. This change infuriated the founder, who removed his daughter from the company's leadership. After persistently poor performance, the company's board of directors reinstated the founder's daughter; she then launched a notorious public battle for control of the company. Despite new environment-responsive strategies, revenues continued to decline to the point of the company declaring its biggest loss by the end of 2017. In August 2018, the company reported a net loss of 2.3 billion, with the company's shares trading at their lowest level ever. Facing financial distress, the company had to look both inward and outward to determine its next steps. Andrea Santiago is affiliated with Asian Institute of Management. Fernando Martin Roxas is affiliated with Asian Institute of Management.