Signet Jewelers

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Signet Jewelers Limited
Industry Retail
Founded 1949
Headquarters Hamilton, Bermuda
London, England, United Kingdom
Key people
Todd Stitzer (Chairman)
Terry Burman (CEO)
Ronald Ristau (CFO)
Products Jewelry
Revenue US $3.665 billion (yr - 2 Feb 08)[1]
Increase US $351.3 million (yr - Feb 08)[1]
Profit Increase US $215.2 million (yr - Feb 08)[1]
Number of employees
17,200 (2008)[1]
Subsidiaries Sterling Jewelers
H. Samuel
Ernest Jones
Zale Corporation

Signet Jewelers Limited (Ratner Group 1949-1993 then Signet Group plc to September 2008) is the world's largest specialty retail jeweller. The Bermuda-domiciled, British headquartered company is listed on both the New York Stock Exchange and the London Stock Exchange. The group focuses on the middle mass jewelry segment and has number one positions in both the U.S. and UK specialty jewelry markets. Certain brands (Jared in the U.S. and Ernest Jones/Leslie Davis in the UK) are targeted at the upper middle market.


The group was founded in 1949 and grew organically before expanding rapidly through a series of acquisitions in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and was formerly known as the Ratner Group.

Gerald Ratner who built it from 130 stores to 2500, a previous CEO, made possibly the most famous gaffe in twentieth century British business when he explained to a major business conference that the reason why one of his products was so cheap was that it was "total crap". He then went on to unfavourably compare some of the company's earrings with a 99p prawn sandwich. His remarks were gleefully reported by the media, The company lost over 500 million pounds off its share price and consumers subsequently avoided the Ratner branded stores, nearly 300 of which were closed between January 1992 and May 1994 as the group went through a financial restructuring. Ratner resigned in November 1992 and the group changed its name to Signet Group plc in September 1993.

This perceived lack of judgement and contempt for the customer gave rise to the expression "doing a Ratner".[2][3]

The company moved its primary stock market listing from the London to the New York Stock Exchange on September 11, 2008, changing its name to Signet Jewelers Limited in the process.[4] The firm also moved its country of domicile from the United Kingdom to Bermuda on the same day,[5] although it retains operational headquarters in the Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham.

In February 2014, Signet Jewelers Ltd. agreed to buy Zale Corporation, with Zale shareholders receiving USD$21 a share in cash in USD$1.4 billion deal.[6] This merger will create a $6.2 billion firm.[6]


Signet operated 1,933 specialty retail jewelry stores at January 2, 2010; these included 1,379 stores in the U.S. where the group trades as Kay Jewelers, Jared The Galleria Of Jewelry and under the following regional names: JB Robinson Jewelers, Marks & Morgan Jewelers, Belden Jewelers, Osterman Jewelers, Shaw's Jewelers, Weisfield's Jewelers, LeRoy's Jewelers, Rogers Jewelers, Goodman Jewelers, and Friedlander's Jewelers. Kay Jewelers is the national flagship mall store brand and Jared is the national off-mall superstore brand. The regional stores are all mall-based. All of the U.S. stores of all brands are operated under the subsidiary company Sterling Jewelers, Inc., which is wholly owned by Signet Jewelers.

At that date Signet also operated 554 stores in the UK, where the group trades as H. Samuel, Ernest Jones and Leslie Davis.

H.Samuel: The Jeweller is the number one specialty jeweler in the United Kingdom. As of January 2, 2010, there were 348 H.Samuel stores.

Ernest Jones is targeted at a more upscale customer than H.Samuel. Ernest Jones sells Swiss watches, such as TAG Heuer, RADO Switzerland, Gucci, Longines, and Omega, with some stores carrying Rolex. As of January 2, 2010, there were 191 Ernest Jones locations.

Leslie Davis stores are branded as "Jewelers of Distinction".[citation needed] The selection is slightly more fashion-forward than Ernest Jones.[citation needed] Along with watch brands like Omega and TAG Heuer, many of their watches are by upscale clothing designers, such as Gucci, Armani, Christian Dior, and Burberry. As of June 9, 2011, there are 15 Leslie Davis locations.


  1. ^ a b c d "Annual Report 2007". Signet Jewelers. Retrieved 2008-09-14. [dead link]
  2. ^ "'Doing a Ratner' and other famous gaffes". The Daily Telegraph. 22 December 2007. Retrieved 14 April 2010. 
  3. ^ Wilson, Bill (17 October 2003). "Barclay chief's gaffe recalls Ratner howler". BBC News Online. Retrieved 14 April 2010. 
  4. ^ Baertlein, Lisa (11 September 2008). "Signet Jewelers shares rise in NYSE debut". Reuters. Retrieved 2008-09-14. 
  5. ^ "Signet says court approves move of listing to NYSE, change of domicile". AFX News (Forbes). 8 September 2008. Archived from the original on 2011-05-24. Retrieved 2008-09-14. 
  6. ^ a b Karr, Arnold J. (19 February 2014). "Signet to Buy Zale". WWD. Retrieved 19 February 2014. 

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