Signet Jewelers will permanently close nearly 400 stores by the end of this year while it grows its digital experience services for the remaining fleet.
The parent company to Kay Jewelers, Zales, Jared, Piercing Pagoda, Peoples, H. Samuel, Ernest Jones and JamesAllen.com will not reopen 150 North American and 80 U.K. stores it had shuttered in March to help slow the spread of COVID-19. It will also close at least an additional 150 stores by the end of the fiscal year, a decision that will be shaped by landlord discussions and further store-level analysis.
Signet’s North America same-store sales declined 39% in the first quarter, while e-commerce sales rose 4.3%. The New York-located James Allen distribution center was forced to shut down as a result of COVID-19, and so when this is excluded, e-commerce sales rose 18.2%.
As it re-opens stores, Signet is bolstering its digital services with virtual by-appointment private shopping consultations. These video consultations, available 9:00am to 12:00am EST, seven days a week, pair customers with store associates for such things as choosing and designing jewelry.
The company has conducted more than 100,000 virtual consultations with over 20 million customers since March 23, and it intends to expand its services as consumers grow more comfortable with purchasing jewelry online.
It will also expand its curbside service, first implemented in April, to additional stores. With Curbside Concierge, consumers select a password, which they then provide when greeted by an associate at the designed location.
Signet, which operates around 3,200 stores, has re-opened nearly 1,100 of them as of June 2. Like most retailers, the company is implementing new sanitizing and social-distancing measures, including regular sanitizing of high-touch surfaces and alcohol wiping of jewelry between try-ons. Employees are required to wear masks, and some will wear gloves when needed.