|Founded||August 14, 1910|
Number of locations
|c. 1500 stores|
|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 Belden Jewelers, Ernest Jones, Goodman Jewelers, H.Samuel, J.B. Robinson Jewelers, JamesAllen.com, Jared The Galleria Of Jewelry, Kay Jewelers, Signet Jewelers Limited, Le Roy's Jewelers, Marks & Morgan, Osterman Jewelers, Peoples, Piercing Pagoda, Rogers Jewelers, Shaw's Jewelers, Weisfield Jewelers, and Zales, among others (all of which operate as Sterling divisions).
According to the company's February 2, 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 US$21 a share in cash in a US$1.4 billion deal. This merger will create a $6.2 billion firm.
In August 2017, it was announced that Signet Jewelers Ltd. agreed to buy R2Net, owner of online jewelry retailer JamesAllen.com, for $328 million.
Sex discrimination and sexual harassment 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, 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 promotions and higher pay. Signet Jewelers's CEO Mark Light and other senior executives were among those accused of demanding sexual favors. 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.
Separately, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission brought sex discrimination claims against the company in 2008. In May 2017, the EEOC and Sterling Jewelers settled the case by a consent decree; under the settlement, Sterling Jewelers does not have to pay a monetary sum and does not acknowledge any wrongdoing, but agreed to adopt new anti-discrimination policies and to hire an independent expert to review the company's compensation and promotion policies. The EEOC settlement does not affect the separate class action proceeding.
Credit card practices case
On January 16, 2019, Sterling Jewelers paid $11 million under a settlement with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The Bureau's investigations concluded that Sterling violated the Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010 by signing customers up for store credit without their knowledge or consent and enrolling them in payment-protection insurance. The investigations also found that the company violated the Truth in Lending Act when customers were signed-up for credit-card accounts without receiving an application from them. Sterling's parent company, Signet Jewelers Ltd, refused the allegations but then accepted the settlement.
In April 2019, Sterling Jewelers announced the closure of 150 stores, mostly in mall locations that see poor foot traffic.
- Harwell, Drew (February 27, 2017). "Hundreds allege sex harassment, discrimination at Kay and Jared jewelry company". The Washington Post.
- "Sterling Jewelers' parent reports record first-quarter results". Crain's Cleveland Business. May 26, 2011. Retrieved June 12, 2011.
- "J.B. Robinson Jewelers Locations". Sterling Jewelers. Retrieved February 13, 2019. See the logos at the top of the page.
- "The Sterling Family of Jewelers". Sterling Jewelers. Retrieved February 13, 2019.
- "About Signet Jewelers". Signet Jewelers. Retrieved February 13, 2019.
- "Regional Brands". Sterling Jewelers. Retrieved February 13, 2019.
- "Stores". Signet Jewelers. Retrieved February 13, 2019.
- 2017 Form 10-K (Annual report)
- St. Jude announces new $50M partnership, Memphis Business Journal (February 19, 2015).
- Wahba, Phil (February 19, 2014). "Kay Jewelers parent Signet to buy rival Zale for $690 million". Reuters.
- Suttell, Scott. "Signet Jewelers buys online retailer for $328 million", Crain's Cleveland Business, August 28, 2017. Retrieved on August 28, 2017.
- Wiener-Bronner, Danielle (February 27, 2017). "Company that owns Kay and Jared jewelry chains hit with allegations of rampant discrimination". CNNMoney.
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.
- 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.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
- Rachel Abrams, "Sterling Jewelers Settles Charges of Bias Against Female Workers", The New York Times (May 5, 2017).
- Daniel Wiessner, "Sterling Jewelers settles U.S. agency's sex bias claims", Reuters (May 5, 2017).
- "Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Settles Claims with Sterling Jewelers, Inc". Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Retrieved January 18, 2019.
- "Ohio-based Sterling Jewelers to pay $11M settlement over credit practices". WCMH. Associated Press. January 17, 2019. Retrieved January 18, 2019.
- "Owner of Kay Jewelers, Zales and Jared to close 150 more stores". www.cbsnews.com. Retrieved April 5, 2019.
- "The Company That Sells Love to America Had a Dark Secret", by Taffy Brodesser-Akner, April 23, 2019, The New York Times