Signet Jewelers

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Signet Jewelers Ltd.
Ratner Group (1949–1993)
Signet Group plc (1993-2008)
Traded as
ISINBMG812761002 Edit this on Wikidata
Founded1949; 71 years ago (1949)
HeadquartersHamilton, Bermuda
Akron, Ohio, US
Key people
Todd Stitzer (chairman)
Virginia Drosos (CEO)
Michele Santana (CFO)[1]
RevenueIncreaseUS$ 6.55 billion (2015)[1]
IncreaseUS$703.7 million (2015)
IncreaseUS$467.9 million (2015)
Total assetsIncreaseUS$6.464 billion (2015)
Number of employees
29,057 (2016)[1]
SubsidiariesZale Corporation
Kay Jewelers
Ernest Jones
Leslie Davies
James Allen

Signet Jewelers Ltd. (Ratner Group 1949–1993 then Signet Group plc to September 2008) is the world's largest retailer of diamond jewellery.[1] The company is domiciled in Bermuda and headquartered in Akron, Ohio, and is listed on the New York Stock Exchange. As of 14 March 2016 the company has been delisted from the London Stock Exchange, following reports that less than 1% of their annual trading volume was conducted via the platform.[2] The group operates in the middle market jewellery segment and has number one positions in the US, Canada and UK speciality jewellery markets. Certain brands (Jared in the US and H. Samuel/Ernest Jones/Leslie Davis in the UK) operate in the upper middle market.[1] Signet Jewelers owns and operates the companies Zales, Kay Jewelers, and Jared.[3]


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.[citation needed]

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.[citation needed]

This perceived lack of judgement and contempt for the customer gave rise to the expression "doing a Ratner".[4][5]

The company moved its primary stock market listing from the London to the New York Stock Exchange on 11 September 2008, changing its name to Signet Jewelers Limited in the process.[6] The firm also moved its country of domicile from the United Kingdom to Bermuda on the same day,[7] although it retains headquarters in Akron, OH.[1] In 2012, Signet acquired ULTRA Diamonds[8] and converted most of ULTRA stores to Kay Jewelers Outlets.[9]

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.[10] This merger has created a $6.2 billion firm.[10]

In July 2017, Virginia Drosos was appointed as the new CEO of Signet Jewelers Ltd., replacing Mark Light who had served as CEO since October 2014.[11]

In August 2017, it was announced that Signet Jewelers Ltd. agreed to buy R2Net, owner of online jewellery retailer James Allen, for $328 million.[12][13][14]


Signet operates approximately 3,579 stores.[1]


In May 2017, one of Signet's subsidiaries, Sterling Jewelers, settled a federal civil lawsuit brought by the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission accusing it of discriminating against female employees.[15] Signet was also subject to at least two class actions through Sterling and one of its subsidiaries, Jared—the Galleria of Jewelry. It was sued by 44,000 female employees and former employees for discrimination. The action was launched in 2008 and went to go to trial in 2018.[16][17]

In January 2019, Signet subsidiary Sterling Jewelers settled allegations that it had signed customers up for credit cards without their permission, paying $11 million to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and New York Attorney General's office.[18][14]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "Signet Jewelers Ltd. FY15 Annual Report" (PDF).
  2. ^ "Signet Jewelers Announces Its Intent to Delist from London Stock Exchange". Signet Jewelers. Retrieved 11 May 2017.
  3. ^ Bachman, Justin. "Zale, Kay Jewelers, and Jared Just Got More Interchangeable". Bloomberg L.P. Retrieved 11 August 2016.
  4. ^ "'Doing a Ratner' and other famous gaffes". The Daily Telegraph. 22 December 2007. Retrieved 14 April 2010.
  5. ^ Wilson, Bill (17 October 2003). "Barclay chief's gaffe recalls Ratner howler". BBC News. Retrieved 14 April 2010.
  6. ^ Baertlein, Lisa (11 September 2008). "Signet Jewelers shares rise in NYSE debut". Reuters. Retrieved 14 September 2008.
  7. ^ "Signet says court approves move of listing to NYSE, change of domicile". AFX News. 8 September 2008. Archived from the original on 4 June 2011. Retrieved 14 September 2008.
  8. ^ "acquisition".
  9. ^ "Signet Converting Most Ultra Stores to Kays".
  10. ^ a b Karr, Arnold J. (19 February 2014). "Signet to Buy Zale". Women's Wear Daily. Retrieved 19 February 2014.
  11. ^ DeMarco, Anthony. "Signet Jewelers Appoints Virginia 'Gina' C. Drosos as CEO", Forbes, 17 July 2017. Retrieved 27 August 2017.
  12. ^ Suttell, Scott. "Signet Jewelers buys online retailer for $328 million", Crain's Cleveland Business, 24 August 2017. Retrieved 24 August 2017.
  13. ^ Bates, Rob. "Signet Buys James Allen; Comp Sales Rise", JCK, 24 August 2017. Retrieved 27 August 2017.
  14. ^ a b "Financial Report 2019" (PDF).
  15. ^ Abrams, Rachel (5 May 2017). "Sterling Jewelers Settles Charges of Bias Against Female Workers". The New York Times. Retrieved 18 September 2017.
  16. ^ 2nd Cir. "EEOC v. Sterling Jewelers". National Law Review. Retrieved 21 October 2015.
  17. ^ Harwell, Drew (17 July 2017). "Signet Jewelers CEO, at center of gender-discrimination case, retires for 'health reasons'". The Washington Post. Retrieved 18 September 2017.
  18. ^ Consumer Protective Action; NY Attorney Generals Office

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