Signet Group

Signet Jewelers Limited
Traded as SIG
Industry Retail
Founded 1949
Headquarters Hamilton, Bermuda
London, United Kingdom
Key people Todd Stitzer (Chairman)
Terry Burman (CEO)
Ronald Ristau (CFO)
Products Jewelry
Revenue US $3.665 billion (yr - 2 Feb 08)[1]
Operating income Increase US $351.3 million (yr - Feb 08)[1]
Profit Increase US $215.2 million (yr - Feb 08)[1]
Employees 17,200 (2008)[1]
Subsidiaries Sterling Jewelers, Inc.
H. Samuel
Ernest Jones

Signet Jewelers Limited (Ratner Group 1949-1993 then Signet Group plc to September 2008) is the world's largest specialty retail jeweller. The Bermuda-domiciled, British headquartered company is listed on both the New York Stock Exchange and the London Stock Exchange. The group focuses on the middle mass jewelry segment and has number one positions in both the U.S. and UK specialty jewelry markets. Certain brands (Jared in the U.S. and Ernest Jones/Leslie Davis in the UK) are targeted at the upper middle market.


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, 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".[2][3]

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.[4] The firm also moved its country of domicile from the United Kingdom to Bermuda on the same day,[5] although it retains operational headquarters in the Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham.


Signet operated 1,933 specialty retail jewelry stores at January 2, 2010; these included 1,379 stores in the U.S. where the group trades as Kay Jewelers, Jared The Galleria Of Jewelry and under the following regional names: JB Robinson Jewelers, Marks & Morgan Jewelers, Belden Jewelers, Osterman Jewelers, Shaw's Jewelers, Weisfield's Jewelers, LeRoy's Jewelers, Rogers Jewelers, Goodman Jewelers, and Friedlander's Jewelers. Kay Jewelers is the national flagship mall store brand and Jared is the national off-mall superstore brand. The regional stores are all mall-based. All of the U.S. stores of all brands are operated under the subsidiary company Sterling Jewelers, Inc., which is wholly owned by Signet Jewelers.

At that date Signet also operated 554 stores in the UK, where the group trades as H. Samuel, Ernest Jones and Leslie Davis.

H.Samuel: The Jeweller is the number one specialty jeweler in the United Kingdom. Stores carry many exclusive collections such as their certified "Forever Diamonds" with a special 73-facet cut that shows more sparkle and brilliance versus a standard diamond. Their current advertising slogan is "H. Samuel helps you say it better". As of January 2, 2010 there were 348 H.Samuel stores.

Ernest Jones is known as "The Diamond and Watch Specialist", as well as carrying the distinction of being the number one "upper middle market" jeweler in the UK. The brand appeals to a more upscale customer than H.Samuel. As a diamond specialist, they carry many exclusive diamond collections, and (along with sister store Leslie Davis) are the exclusive UK jeweler for the Leo Diamond. As one of the UK's leading watch specialists, Ernest Jones has many luxury upscale Swiss watches, such as TAG Heuer, RADO Switzerland, Gucci, Longines, and Omega, with select stores carrying Rolex. As of January 2, 2010 there were 191 Ernest Jones locations.

Leslie Davis stores are branded as "Jewelers of Distinction". The selection is slightly more fashion-forward than Ernest Jones. Along with watch brands like Omega and TAG Heuer, many of their watches are by upscale clothing designers, such as Gucci, Armani, Christian Dior, and Burberry. As of 9 June 2011, there are 15 Leslie Davis locations.


External links

  • Yahoo profile
  • Sterling Jewelers, Inc. (U.S. Operations)
  • H.Samuel
  • Ernest Jones
  • Company history
  • Company information and timeline
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