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|Headquarters||Akron, Ohio, U.S.|
Number of locations
|~ 1500 stores|
|Mark Light (President and CEO)|
|Revenue||> $6 billion (2015)|
Number of employees
|Footnotes / references
Sterling Jewelers, Inc. is an American specialty jewelry company headquartered in Akron, Ohio. The company was founded in 1910 by Henry Shaw (the father of Jerry Shaw, the chairman emeritus of Sterling today), from LeRoy's Jewelers in Lorain, Ohio. Sterling Jewelers is a wholly owned subsidiary of UK-based Signet Jewelers Limited (listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol SIG), having been acquired in 1987.
Signet Jewelers, based in the U.K., is a specialty retail jeweler, with stores in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Republic of Ireland, and Channel Islands. Approximately 78% of company sales are derived from the 12 different store brands operating in the U.S. They include Kay Jewelers, Jared-The Galleria of Jewelry, J.B. Robinson, Marks & Morgan, and Belden Jewelers, among others (all of which operate as Sterling divisions).
According to the company's 2 February 2008 Annual Report & Accounts, Sterling has the number-two position in the U.S. with a 4.2% market share of all jewelry purchases. Sterling has a leading 8.8% market share in the specialty jeweler market share (highest in the sector).
Since 2009, Sterling Jewelers has been a corporate sponsor of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, making a number of donations to many of the hospital's building, clinical, and research projects. In February 2015, the company's senior vice president of field operations estimated that the company's past commitments to the St. Jude amounted to more than $90 million.
In February 2014, Signet Jewelers Ltd. agreed to buy Zale Corporation, with Zale shareholders receiving USD$21 a share in cash in a USD$1.4 billion deal. This merger will create a $6.2 billion firm.
Sex discrimination and sexual harassment arbitration proceedings
Sterling Jewelers is being sued by 69,000 female employees and former employees for sexual harassment and sex discrimination in an ongoing class arbitration proceeding, which began in 2008. The former employees also accuse Sterling of wage violations, contending that women at the company were "systematically paid less than men and passed over for promotions given to less experienced male colleagues." The company denies the allegations.
In February 2017, The Washington Post obtained and reported on declarations made by about 250 women and men who worked for the company. The declarations state that men in supervisory roles at Kay Jewelers and Jared the Galleria of Jewelry sexually harassed younger saleswomen by groping, making demeaning comments, and demanding of sexual favors in return for promotion and higher pay. Signet Jewelers's CEO Mark Light and other senior executives were among those accused of demanding sexual favors.
- Harwell, Drew (February 27, 2017). "Hundreds allege sex harassment, discrimination at Kay and Jared jewelry company". Washington Post.
- "Sterling Jewelers' parent reports record first-quarter results". Crain's Cleveland Business. May 26, 2011. Retrieved June 12, 2011.
- St. Jude announces new $50M partnership, Memphis Business Journal (February 19, 2015).
- Wahba, Phil (19 February 2014). "Kay Jewelers parent Signet to buy rival Zale for $690 million". Reuters.
- Mark W. Batten & Jessica N. Childress (September 11, 2015). "Second Circuit Decision Resuscitates EEOC’s Gender Discrimination Suit Against Sterling Jewelers". National Law Review. Proskauer Rose LLP.
- Wiener-Bronner, Danielle (February 27, 2017). "Company that owns Kay and Jared jewelry chains hit with allegations of rampant discrimination". CNN Money.
The company has been locked in an arbitration battle for nearly a decade with hundreds of former employees who allege that women were accosted, pressured into sex for advancement or protection, and routinely paid less than men.