After seeing sales sink 40.5% during Q1 2021 following temporarily closures of its North American stores due to COVID-19, Signet Jewelers is accelerating its “Path to Brilliance” strategy, designed to expand e-Commerce and “optimize its store base,” which is entering its third year. As an initial step, the company — which operates Kay Jewelers, Zales, Jared The Galleria Of Jewelry, Piercing Pagoda and James Allen jewelry retailers — announced it will permanently shut at least 150 stores in North America and 80 in the UK. An additional 150 stores could be closed by the end of Signet’s fiscal year, on January 30, 2021.
As part of its Path to Brilliance initiative, the company already reduced its store count by approximately 125 locations in 2019 and 262 in 2018. Signet now operates approximately 3,200 stores.
Signet’s James Allen distribution center in New York was closed during the pandemic, affecting the retailer’s e-Commerce sales, which increased by 6.7% in Q1.
Signet is “building on the first two years of our Path to Brilliance strategy and accelerating our transformation into a digital-first, omnichannel retailer,” said CEO Virginia Drosos in a statement. “We have moved forward in our digital journey while also making significant progress controlling costs, prioritizing investments to drive sustainable growth and preserving liquidity.”
To lower costs, the company temporarily furloughed the majority of its store and support center employees, temporarily reduced the cash compensation of senior executives and cut back advertising.
“Prior to this crisis, our Signet team delivered results ahead of expectations for the fourth quarter and fiscal 2020. Moreover, we delivered our best overall holiday business performance in four years,” Drosos noted.
Last month, Signet began a phased store reopening plan. Of the more than 1,100 stores that have reopened, more than three-quarters are allowing customers inside, with the remainder fulfilling orders through the company’s new curbside pickup option. Called the Curbside Concierge service, Signet’s contactless curbside pickup has an added security feature. A secret password is provided to customers as they complete their transactions online. They must verbally provide the password at curbside before the employee will place their purchase in their cars.