Signet Jewelers

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Signet Jewelers Ltd.
Industry Retail
Founded 1949
Headquarters Hamilton, Bermuda
Akron, Ohio, United States
Key people
Todd Stitzer (Chairman)
Mark Light (CEO)
Michele Santana (CFO)[2]
Products Jewelry
Revenue IncreaseUS$ 6.55 billion (2015)[3]
IncreaseUS$ 703.7 million (2015)
Profit IncreaseUS$ 467.9 million (2015)
Total assets IncreaseUS$ 6.464 billion (2015)
Number of employees
29,057 (2016)[4]
Subsidiaries Zale Corporation

Signet Jewelers Ltd. (Ratner Group 1949-1993 then Signet Group plc to September 2008) is the world's largest retailer of diamond jewelry.[5] The Hamilton, Bermuda-domiciled, Akron, OH-headquartered company is listed on both the New York Stock Exchange and the London Stock Exchange. The group operates in the middle market jewelry segment and has number one positions in the U.S., Canada and UK specialty jewelry markets. Certain brands (Jared in the U.S. and Ernest Jones/Leslie Davis in the UK) operate in the upper middle market.[5]


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".[6][7]

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.[8] The firm also moved its country of domicile from the United Kingdom to Bermuda on the same day,[9] although it retains headquarters in Akron, OH.[5]

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 will create a $6.2 billion firm.[10]


Signet operates approximately 5,000 stores.[5]

Ethics Controversy and Lawsuits[edit]

Signet's approach to ethics and contempt for consumers, first dropped on the public by Ratner, appears to have continued. Signet Jewelers Ltd. is subject to at least two class actions through its subsidiaries, Sterling Jewelers and Jared The Galleria of Jewelry. Despite being a business providing products for women, it is being sued by 44,000 female employees and former employees for discrimination. The action was launched in 2008 and Sterling is still fighting it 2015. [11]

Jared the Galleria of Jewelry and Signet are being sued in another class action for failing to disclose the treatments it applied to gemstones to make the stones appear to be of higher quality and more valuable than they were. While it is not uncommon to treat gemstones, it is unethical and illegal to fail to disclose the treatments. [12]


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  5. ^ a b c d "Signet Jewelers Ltd. FY15 Annual Report" (PDF). 
  6. ^ "'Doing a Ratner' and other famous gaffes". The Daily Telegraph. 22 December 2007. Retrieved 14 April 2010. 
  7. ^ Wilson, Bill (17 October 2003). "Barclay chief's gaffe recalls Ratner howler". BBC News Online. Retrieved 14 April 2010. 
  8. ^ Baertlein, Lisa (11 September 2008). "Signet Jewelers shares rise in NYSE debut". Reuters. Retrieved 2008-09-14. 
  9. ^ "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. 
  10. ^ a b Karr, Arnold J. (19 February 2014). "Signet to Buy Zale". WWD. Retrieved 19 February 2014. 
  11. ^ 2nd Cir. "EEOC v. Sterling Jewelers". National Law Review. Retrieved 21 October 2015. 
  12. ^ D Mass, US District Court. "Ferreira v. Sterling Jewelers, Inc, d/b/a Jared the Galleria of Jewelery". Case Text. Retrieved 21 October 2015. 

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