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|Private limited company|
|Founded||(Liverpool, England) 1862|
|Headquarters||15 Golden Square, London, England|
Number of employees
|17,200 (2008) (Signet Group Results)|
In 1862, Harriet Samuel (née Wolf) took over her father-in-law Moses Samuel's clock-making and silversmith business in Liverpool. Harriet moved the business to Manchester's Market Street and ran the mail-order side. Her son developed the retail business, and opened the first H. Samuel retail store in Preston in 1890, closely followed by branches in Rochdale and throughout Lancashire. To accommodate the growing business, the company moved to larger headquarters in Birmingham in 1912.
After the Second World War, Harriet's grandsons, Gilbert Edgar and Robert Edgar, took over as chairman and vice chairman. In 1948, the company was listed on the London Stock Exchange. Gilbert was appointed a CBE for political and public services, was elected a Sheriff of the City of London, and was elected Master of the Clockmakers' Company. Meanwhile, the number of H. Samuel stores rose to over two hundred nationwide.
After the brothers' deaths in the late 1970s, Robert's son took over as chairman. In 1984 he led an acquisition of the James Walker Group, which doubled the company's presence in the UK.
H. Samuel was bought by Ratner's Jewellers and some H. Samuel stores were formerly branches of Ratner's, which were re-branded following that brand's spectacular fall from grace in 1992.
Acquired by Signet
The chain is now part of the Signet Group, which also owns the Ernest Jones and Leslie Davis jewellery stores in the UK. The Signet Group, listed on the London and New York stock exchanges, owns Sterling – the largest specialty jewellery retailer in the United States – which operates the Kay and Jared national brands, and a further ten regional brands.