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Owner of Kay Jewelers, Zales and Jared to close 150 more stores

Jewelry giant to close 150 more stores
Signet Jewelers, Tesla and more MoneyWatch headlines 01:09
  • Signet Jewelers, which owns the Kay Jewelers, Zales and Jared retail brands, is shuttering 150 stores.
  • The jewelry giant is the world's largest retailer of diamond jewelry and has more than 3,500 locations. 
  • It has already closed 262 locations, part of a three-year plan to reduce its store base by 13 percent. 

Signet Jewelers, the parent company of the Kay Jewelers, Zales and Jared retail brands, announced Wednesday it is shuttering 150 more stores after reporting falling sales. 

The jewelry giant, which operates more than 3,500 locations, is rolling out a three-year plan to close 13 percent, or about 455, of its stores. Signet already closed 262 stores (232 of them in North America), focusing on underperforming mall locales. Most of the latest closings will likely happen after the 2019 holiday season, the company said. 

Despite beating earnings expectations in its last quarter, Signet still reported a 2 percent drop in same-store sales. The company blamed consumer weakness in the U.K. and low holiday performance for the decline. "We did not finish the year as strongly as expected," Virginia Drosos, chief executive officer at Signet Jewelers, said in a statement. 

The retailer is hoping a smaller footprint, an online-sales focus and redesigns for the remaining stores will help revitalize its brands.

It's focusing on cutting stores in malls that have seen poor foot traffic. In North America, brick-and-mortar sales declined 2.5 percent in the last quarter, but online sales increased by about 7 percent. Drosos said 70 percent of customers have shopped on the brands' online sites before walking into a store. 

Investors seemed pleased with the strategy and the earnings beat. Shares in Signet Jewelers are up 3 percent in Thursday morning trading. 

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