Takashimaya fails to solve mystery of Christmas cake catastrophe

Japanese department store operator Takashimaya Co. said Wednesday it has been unable to determine why over 800 Christmas cakes arrived at customers' doors in various states of ruin.

"We have betrayed the expectations of many customers. The responsibility rests with our company," Senior Managing Director Kazuhisa Yokoyama told a press conference in Tokyo, apologizing for the incident that generated much chat on social media.

Takashimaya confirmed that as of Tuesday evening, 807 of the around 2,900 strawberry frill shortcakes it sold online were delivered to customers with damage. The cakes sold by the upscale department store were priced at 5,400 yen ($38) across Japan.

The cakes were made and frozen by confectionery Win's Ark Co. and delivered by Yamato Transport Co. Investigations by both firms said temperature management of the products was appropriate, according to Yokoyama.

Takashimaya will not look into the issue any further, citing difficulties in completely replicating the situation, he said.

"In future, we will strengthen our relationship with our business partners to improve our management system and prevent it happening again," Yokoyama said.

Numerous customers took to social media to share photos of their cakes that arrived completely collapsed or with strawberries sliding off half-melted whipped cream.

© Kyodo News