Before you buy diamonds and jewelry from a Signet Diamond and Jewellery outlet or online, it is a good idea to read this write up and find out all about the various Signet Diamond and Jewellery brand outlets beforehand so that you know who you are really dealing with.
Naturally, when buying any jewelry or diamonds, it is always a good idea to do your own due diligence before buying from any diamond dealer or jeweler online regardless of who they are.
Who are Signet
Signet is perhaps one of the largest jewelry retailers in the UK and USA, selling gold, silver, diamond, and gemstone jewelry, watches, collectibles, and gifts. Some stores also sell china and crystal.. Signet holds about 12.1% share of the £4.5 billion total jewellery market in the UK, with about 580 stores under the H. Samuel, and Ernest Jones.
The Signet Group’s US subsidiary Sterling Jewelers inc, is number 1 in the US (ahead of Zale) with more than 1,300 stores, including 830 stores under the Kay Jewelers banner, the off-mall Jared format, and other stores under regional banners. The US market accounts for approximately 50% of worldwide jewellery sales and the UK for around 7%.
Signet have a policy of all brands and shops being placed in shopping malls and upper end shopping centers to capture pedestrian traffic.
For the fiscal year ending January 2007, One year growth was 19.4%2007 with sales of $3,725.1M
and a Net income of $264.5M. Income growth was 12.4%
The main website is Signetgroupplc.com
The Chairman is Sir Malcolm Williamson, the Group Chief Executive and Director Terry Burman and the Group Finance Director is Walker Boyd
Brands in the USA include Kay with 781 stores in 50 states and 41% of group sales. JB Robinson with 330 stores and 15% of group sales and Jarad with 110 stores and 17% of the upper end of the market. There are also many regional brands with just a few shops in each and they are pretty much of an ilk.
In the UK Signet have H. Samuel with 386 sites and 15% of the middle market and Ernest Jones with just 207 stores and 12% of the upper market.
Many of the brands have been around for some time, many years in fact, and have simply been taken over by the Signet management group to expand their operation. The brands have their own management team and operate within their market level much as they did prior to the Signet group take over except they are now answerable to the Signet Group as a whole.
Here is a brief rundown of the current Signet brands. In the UK we have Ernest Jones and H Samuel.
Ernest Jones accounts for around 12% of the group sales for Signet and is one of the larger specialty retail jewellery brands in the UK with a market share of about 5.6% of the total jewellery market.
It serves the upper middle market selling a broad range of diamond and gold jewellery as well as prestige watches such as, for example, Cartier, Longines, Omega, Rolex and Tag Heuer. It also sells contemporary fashion and traditional watches such as DKNY, Armani, Accurist, Rotary, Seiko and Tissot.
Ernest Jones began in 1949 and has grown from a single store in London’s Oxford Street to national chain of over 190 jewellery stores
The other UK brand store is H. Samuel. H. Samuel, accounting for around 14% of group sales and also one of the largest specialty retail jewellery brand in the UK with a 6.5% share of the total jewellery market. It serves the core middle market
Again, it sells a broad range of gold and silver jewellery with an increasing proportion of diamond merchandise and a wide selection of watches, including Accurist, Citizen, DKNY, Fossil, Rotary, Seiko and Sekonda. It also sells a range of gifts and collectables such as Nao and Swarovski for example.
In the USA we have Kay Jewelers, Jarad, JB Robinson and some smaller regional brands.
Kay Jewelers began in 1916, and has grown from one store to over 800 covering the entire US.. Kay was the simple idea of two enterprising brothers, Sol and Edmund Kaufmann from Reading, Pennsylvania. They opened the first Kay Jewelers in the corner of their father’s furniture store.
Jared is a leading off-mall destination specialty retail jewellery chain in its sector of the market with 154 listed stores in February 2008
Most notably they carry the Leo Schachter range of diamonds. Leo Schachter is one of the leading fine diamond companies. handcrafting some of the world’s most beautiful and brilliant diamonds. Paris, London, Milan, New York, L.A. and Hong Kong.
Regional Brands include:
JB Robinson Jewelers
Marks & Morgan Jewelers
All belong to Signet and are basically the same, even down to the shop fronts. Just located in different parts of the country (USA)
Signet Brands Customer Service
Customer service, as is common in the upper end of the market, tends to be focused and attentive. It does vary with each store depending on the type of store and which country it is located in. Here is some information on the UK brands, Ernst Jones and H. Samuel.
Ernest Jones has 207 stores and 12% of the upper market for jewellery and diamond market.
Ernest Jones has a 30 day cooling off period and specific criteria to meet to return an item. It will depend on what the item is. For example certain items that cannot be returned unless Ernest Jones is at fault includes, understandably, pierced jewellery and personalized or engraved items.
You can return a faulty item to any Ernest Store for a full refund provided it is still in its original box and a refund is available in the same way you paid. i.e. credit card payment will mean a credit back onto your card etc.
Services available at Ernest Jones include:
Design your own jewellery
Using their site map, you can find pretty well anything you want on the site. A complete list of products including:
Diamonds and other gemstones
Various gifts such as cuff links, baby products, Hip flasks, keyrings, the list goes on.
You can also purchase online and payment options include interest free credit (not available online, only at stores)
And the Ernest Jones Credit Card and with cash at stores also of course.
All prices and payments are in Pounds Sterling and VAT (Value Added Tax) and delivery charges will be added to the advertised price as appropriate..
H. Samuel is a bit larger with 386 sites and 15% of the middle market.
H. Samuel also has a cooling off period of 30 days. Their returns policy is much the same as Ernest Jones.
They have a similar range of products including a great variety of jewellery, diamonds and watches as well as collectibles, including Cherished Teddies and small statues and ornaments such as the Water Lily range for example.
Various gifts of course, Clocks, cutlery and crockery and Hip Flasks, jewellery boxes etc.
Services available at H Samuel include:
Watch straps & batteries
Cleaning your watch
Free jewellery cleaning
Payment options are very much the same as Ernest Jones and all payments , again should be in Pounds Sterling.
Both the UK Brand websites are very comprehensive with lots of information and very clearly laid out. Using the site map is a good idea as you can easily find exactly what you want provided they have it.
Sterling Jewelers Inc
Sterling Jewelers is a wholly owned subsidiary of Signet Group plc (UK) and is the largest specialty retail jeweler in the USA, with 1,307 stores located in 50 states, includes the nationally recognized Kay Jewelers, Jared the Galleria of Jewelry and JB Robinson brands as well as many smaller regional brands dotted around the US landscape.
781 in 50 states 41% of group sales. This is the only brand from which you can buy online in the US. You will need to open an account with Kay Jewelers first and provide some information about yourself.
They take all standard credit cards and, of course, you can pay by cash also in stores.
Their returns policy is 90 days (30 days for watches) either through shipping or to a Kay Store (except for customer designed jewelry)
Kay provide a gemstone lifelong guarantee provided you use their service to inspect the diamond or other gemstone every 6 months. The mounting is guaranteed for 12 months.
They also provide free lifetime cleaning of your gemstone.
The website is well thought out and contains a large variety of products including jewelry, diamonds and gemstones and watches.
The Jarad brand consists of 110 stores and 17% of the upper end of the jewelry market. There is a website but one cannot buy online. Most stores are in shopping malls, sometimes across from Kay Jewelry or one of the regional stores.
Their product range is much the same as Kay Jewelers and the regional brands.
The terms of service, such as returns, privacy etc, are much the same. 90 days return for jewelry (not customized) and 30 days for watches.
The only difference really is the name of the brand.
Curiously, you can open an account with Jarad online but the only facilities it provides is to be able to pay Jarad electronically if you have a line of credit with them and to be able to see the account you have opened.
Among the regional brands is JB Robinson. JB Robinson are part of the Sterling Jewelers Inc based in Akron, Ohio of course, and have 330 stores and provide 15% of group sales for Signet. This is quite significant.
Like all the regional brands and Jarad, you can only purchase from one of the JB Robinson stores. There is no provision, at this time, for an online purchase.
The JB Return policy is 90 days and within that time you can exchange or return the product you purchased.
Their range is very similar to the Kay Jewelers and Jarad with attention the middle and upper market. All the stores have the same ‘face’ and almost all are in Malls or main shopping centers. All brands, with the exception of Kay Jewelers, do not provide an online service and you can only purchase in stores.
The complete range of branded regional stores and how many stores they have at the time of writing is:
JB Robinson Jewelers 330 stores
Belden Jewelers store 28 stores
Marks & Morgan Jewelers 44 stores
Osterman Jewelers 28 stores
Shaw’s Jewelers 18 stores
Weisfield Jewelers 19 stores
LeRoy’s Jewelers 17 stores
Rogers Jewelers 11 stores
Goodman Jewelers 12 stores
Friedlander’s Jewelers 4 stores
More Information about the Signet Group
One can buy shares in the Signet Group (SIG.L) on both the London and new York Stock Exchanges. Of the shares issued Harris Associates L.P holds just over 17 percent, The Capital Group of Companies just under 10 percent and Sprucegrove investment Management ltd has slightly over 6.5 percent. 11 Directors hold, between them around 1.7 million shares. Over half the shares are owned in the US with about 36 percent in the UK and the rest in Europe and the rest of the world.
The share price has been on a steady downtrend since July 2007 (It is now June 2008). However the dividend paid to shareholders over the past five years has been steadily increasing.
If you have bought any diamonds or jewelry from any of the Signet Group, please feel free to leave your feedback on the quality of service and products of the Signet Group complaints and special attention or service given by of the Signet Group companies and outlets online