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Signet Seeks Voluntary Staff Cuts After Disappointing Holiday Season

After a disappointing holiday season that saw lower than expected sales coupled with higher than anticipated credit costs, Signet Jewelers has made a voluntary separation offer to its 3,400 corporate staff as it strives to continue with its three-year turnaround plan.

Signet, the parent group of the Zales, Jared’s, Kay Jewelers and Piercing Pagoda jewellery brands that collectively account for 3,500 retail stores, has said that the offer is to district manager-level employees and above who have been with the company at least two years. Chief People Officer Mary Liz Finn said in a memo to employess, ”Our high-production areas of distribution, manufacturing, customer care and security are not eligible for the program.”

If not enough voluntary separations are forthcoming by Signet’s March 25 deadline, the company said it will have to resort to layoffs.

CEO Virginia Drosos said in a letter to employees that the company needs to cut costs to fund improvements in systems, capabilities, product and stores. She said Signet has been in negotiations to reduce rents and has been working with vendors to lower its costs of goods, but that the company also needs to make some hard decisions “to get Signet where we need to be”.

Drosos went on to say, "I want to emphasise that we are in the midst of a significant and challenging transformation of a legacy mall retailer to a modern omni-channel category leader. We need to take bold actions to free up resources necessary to operate more efficiently and make the investments necessary for continued growth."

Company spokesperson David Bouffard said that Signet will announce the results of the voluntary staff cuts in early April, when it presents its fourth-quarter earnings.

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