Signet Jewelers Closing 400 Stores This Year
Signet Jewelers has announced plans to close 400 stores permanently, reports Yahoo News. The specialty jewelry retailer — parent to the Kay Jewelers, Zales, Jared, H. Samuel, Ernest Jones, Peoples Jewellers, Piercing Pagoda, and jamesallen.com brands — fell short on both top and bottom lines during the most recent quarter, the period when the majority of its stores were closed because of the coronavirus. Like most retailers, Signet was forced to close all stores in North America last March in response to the pandemic. The first batch of stores didn’t begin reopening until May. As of Tuesday, more than 1,100 of the company’s 3,200 stores in North America and the U.K. have reopened, with store sales improving each week. Even so, the specialty jeweler said at least 150 stores in North America and 80 stores in the U.K. will remain permanently closed, with another 150 stores — possibly more — set to close by the end of the year.
Total Retail's Take: Signet's decision to reduce its physical store footprint aligns with the cost-cutting strategies we've seen from several other large retailers this year. The trend of retailers downsizing their brick-and-mortar networks has been pushed further along by the coronavirus pandemic, the effects of which continue to linger as consumers are reluctant to return to in-store shopping. One positive emerging from cutting back on stores is the growth in e-commerce sales, and Signet "quickly pivoted and further adapted [its] e-commerce operating model to serve customers during stay-at-home restrictions with new technology, virtual consultation and selling solutions," CEO Virginia Drosos said in a press release. Drosos says Signet, like many others, is currently "accelerating our transformation into a digital-first, omnichannel retailer" and has "moved forward in our digital journey while also making significant progress controlling costs, prioritizing investments to drive sustainable growth, and preserving liquidity." Although I'm confident that most consumers will still want to shop in stores when purchasing big-ticket items, jewelry retailers first must be able to grab shoppers online with an excellent e-commerce experience. In that regard, Signet seems to be moving in the right direction.
Kristina Stidham is the digital content director at Women in Retail Leadership Circle and sister brand Total Retail. She is passionate about digital media and handles video, podcast and virtual event production for both brands. You can often find her at WIRLC, TR, or industry events with her camera and podcasting equipment recording interviews with retailers.
Kristina holds a B.A. in Media Studies and Production from the Temple University Klein College of Media and Communication in Philadelphia. Go Owls! When she's not in the office, she loves to go on long walks, sing around the house, hangout with her two pet guinea pigs, and travel to new places.