H&D fiscal year has nothing to do with pears

The federal government begins its fiscal year Oct. 1, the city of Medford starts its fiscal year on July 1, and most taxpayers begin their year on Jan. 1. Why does Harry & David begin its fiscal year sometime in late June?

— Earl C., via email

We here in the Since You Asked ivory tower thought this might have something to do with the pear-harvest cycles, or what the founding Holmes family might have figured was the best way to do things.

Alas, finding the answer to your query meant crossing the Pacific Ocean — at least figuratively — and then finding our way back to the Rogue Valley.

When Yamanouchi Pharmaceutical of Tokyo acquired Bear Creek Corp. from Shaklee Corp. of Oakland, Calif., in 1989, the company's fiscal year was shifted to comply with the standard year end for Japanese companies, which is in March.

It may have not been by design, but the bright, white pear blossoms annually burst forth to welcome the new financial year.

The practice had its downside, however, because Easter — a decent contributor to the company's revenue pie — moves around from March to April, depending on the year.

As a result, Harry & David historians told us, the company moved its end of the year to June to make year-over-year comparisons more reliable.

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