|Founded||1991 (Gurnee, Illinois)|
|Daniel H Marks (President & CEO)
Joseph Donaghy (EVP and Chief Administration Officer)
Kristine Land (Chief Marketing Officer)
Mike Bagul(VP Store Operations)
|Revenue||$140 million USD (February 2011) |
|Total assets||$50 million (July 2009)|
Number of employees
|1,500 (July 2009)|
ULTRA Diamonds is the fifth largest jewelry store chain in the USA and the largest seller of fine jewelry in factory outlet and value centers in the nation. ULTRA is a manufacturer and a direct importer of diamonds, gemstones, and gold jewelry. Ultra operates 102 stores in outlet centers and through 38 other formats, primarily licensed jewelry departments.
ULTRA opened its first store in August 1991 in Gurnee, Illinois. Daniel H. Marks, founder, President, and CEO is a third generation jeweler with over 28 years of merchandising and jewelry experience. Prior to founding ULTRA, Mr. Marks was a principal with Marks Bros. Jewelers(Whitehall, Lundstrom). Danny opened the doors on ULTRA Stores with a philosophy of "off-market" pricing in an attempt to generate a revenue base with a lowered profit margin.
Though market share grew from 1991 through 2006, a faltering economy struck the fine jewelry retailer and in 2009 ULTRA Stores Inc was one of over 80 other major retailers that filed Chapter 11. bankruptcy. Danny Marks cited in the bankruptcy report a "weak retail climate and a lack of liquidity" as the case which forced Ultra into Chapter 11. The claims were bolstered with the fiscal year end report for 2008 (published in February 2009) showing a decrease of 10.8%, with an 18.9% decrease over the critical holiday season.
However, unlike some other companies that filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2009 ULTRA emerged from the three month bankruptcy with a strengthened capital base. This was accomplished when Bank of America provided a $30 million line of credit and Crystal Capital assumed 56% ownership of Ultra in exchange for the conversion of half of its debt into equity. Ultra's unsecured creditors will hold an 18% ownership share in the jewelry chain, plus a $3 million note. As well as all of these measures, the Ultra's management team took salary cuts while assuming a 26% ownership interest. ULTRA did close 30 "underperforming locations" during the bankruptcy and still operates 178 locations.
On October 24, 2012, Signet Jewelers announced that it has signed an agreement to acquire Ultra Stores from Crystal Financial LLC. and its other stockholders for approximately $57 million in cash. Signet will not assume any debt in connection with the acquisition.
Signet plans to convert most of Ultra’s 140 stores to Kay Jewelers Outlets.