Signet will invest in digital platforms following a disappointing start to 2017
For the first time since 2009, Signet Jewelers has reported declining sales. After a disappointing 2017, the jewelry company will put its focus on its digital presence and online sales. The company’s major brands, such as Zales and Kay, are best known for their presence in shopping malls.
Going ahead, Signet says it will put its investments in both improving the online experience of its customers, including launching an e-commerce platform for its Zales brand, and introducing new digital platforms on the human resource and finance side of the business. The jewelry company will also close some of its stores and reduce spending on remodeling existing storefronts.
Signet attributes the dip in sales in 2017 to an overall fall in jewelry sales, with independent jewelers closing shop and mall brands seeing decreased traffic. Signet also says low energy prices led to decreased spending in areas like Texas, whose economies are dependent on energy. Throughout the year, Signet faced criticism with regards to its quality control and workplace practices, however it maintains those issues do not reflect the company as a whole. The company was sued earlier in the year for failing to disclose harassment allegations.
The company admits as well that technical issues such as poor search engine optimization prevented brands like Jared and Kay from meeting their usual performance level during the holiday season. Signet maintains though that while many customers will start their jewelry shopping online, the majority will ultimately make their purchases in store with the help of a sales associate.
Looking ahead to 2020, the company outlines a strategy that emphasizes its digital customer experience, growth in the mid market and in the bridal category. Bridal jewelry makes up 50 percent of the company’s overall sales, and the company has also had success with specific bridal lines of merchandise, such as Neil Lane Bridal, Vera Wang Love and the Leo Diamond. Signet also vertically integrates all of its diamond merchandise, allowing it to respond to customers’ desires and tastes.
Signet’s brands such as Jared, Zales and Kay primarily target the middle market and are primarily located inside shopping malls or outdoor shopping centers. As of 2017, Kay made up 40 percent of the company’s overall sales, with over 1,000 stores in the United States. Across its brands, Signet operates more than 3,000 stores nationwide.
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