What is Zales Jewelry
How it started
Zales Jewelry is owned by the Zale Corporation, the brainchild of Morris B. Zale, a Russian-born resident of Texas. In 1924, Zale opened his first store in Wichita Falls, Texas. Two years later, his boyhood friend and brother-in-law, Ben Lipshy, joined him.
In the beginning, Zale’s jewelry items could be paid in 12-monthly installments, even to its low-income customers. However, this scheme put pressure on the company in the 1930s when it operated three stores. It was the time of the Great Depression, and lease payments were high. Despite that, the company thrived and expanded through those financially trying times. In fact, in 1934, it opened its fourth store in Amarillo, Texas, and by the end of 1941, it had 12 with revenues of $2.73 million.
Zale added more outlets during the Second World War years, but its revenue growth remained stagnant. This was due to the scarcity of raw materials used in the war effort. But by war’s end, 1944, the company’s revenues doubled to over $5 million.
First signs of trouble
By the mid-1960s, Zale operated not only the largest U.S. retail jewelry store but of the entire world. Its 403 stores turned in revenues worth $81 million and a net income of $5 million. Diamonds contributed the largest
share, at $27 million. It operated manufacturing plants in New York, Tel Aviv, Israel, and Puerto Rico. It also had a wholesale division, selling to other jewelry retailers, and added watches into its portfolio under the Baylor label.
By 1963, Zale was awash with cash, prompting it to buy, in 1969, the Light of Peace Diamond for $1.4 million. While its core business was tied up in its jewelry business, the company started venturing into the first synthetic diamonds—at that time conceived to replace natural diamonds—and frightened retail diamond jewelry traders.
This development prompted Zale to diversify its product base. Its first move was the purchase of Texas-based drug store retail chain Skillern. Then it made forays into budget fashion apparel, sporting goods, shoes, furniture, and a chain of airport-based tobacco and newsstand concessions.
By 1974, Zale had 956 jewelry retail stores, 351 shoe stores, 83 pharmacies, 146 clothing stores, 25 sporting goods stores, 13 home furnishing stores, and 13 tobacco newsstand concessions. While these companies produced $600 million in revenues, half of the total revenues came from its jewelry operations.
difficult to refuse. By the end of the year, People’s and Swarovski had a 50-50% share of Zale.
Who Owns Zale Jewelry
All these, however, did not help Zale much. By January 1992, it had no choice but to seek the help of the country’s bankruptcy laws to bring it back to life. It emerged a year later, with all debts settled, a smaller number of stores, and a new chairman and chief executive officer, Robert DiNicola, the former executive of Macy’s.
By 1995, Zales Jewelry was back in good health. It earned revenues to the tune of $1.04 billion, a 12.6% increase over the previous year.
Net income grew by 36%, to $31.5 million, while the company continued to shrink its total debt to $443 million.
But the overarching question remains…
Who owns Zales Jewelry now?
Since it regained its health in 1995, the company has embarked on many activities to strengthen its brand name. Among other things, it launched the Zales Outlet in 1998. Zales Outlets are retail stores that carry a unique selection of quality jewelry, including branded watches, certified diamond engagement rings, and on-trend fashion jewelry.
At the outset, Zales Outlets were set up in 13 locations in premier centers nationwide. Now, it has about 700 stores worldwide, 382 of them in the U.S. So if you are wondering “what Zales jewelry store is near me,” it is highly probable that you are near one of them. Besides, it has an online store where you can shop while enjoying the comfort of your home.
It also acquired other jewelry stores like People’s Jewelers of Canada (the same store that acquired it way back) and Piercing Pagoda. Then in 2012, it partnered with Vera Wang, resulting in the creation of Vera Wang Zales’s jewelry, also known as the Vera Wang Love Collection.
By 2013, Zales Jewelry returned to profitability, making it an attractive target for businesses higher up in the food chain. Hence, by the end of the following year, Zales Jewelry was purchased by Signet Jewelers, putting it under the same roof as Kay, Jared, Piercing Pagoda, Blue Nile, James Allen, Rocksbox, People’s Jeweller in Canada, H. Samuel, and Ernest Jones in the U.K.
Signet Jewelers is an old company – about a hundred years older than Zales Jewelry. It was started in 1862 by an enterprising woman, Harriet Samuel, as a mail-order business. Today, the company is worth roughly $ 3.25 billion.
Driven by its core values of appreciation, inclusion, and joy, Signet Jewelers is the world’s largest retailer. And with almost a dozen jewelry stores under its umbrella, a customer like you has unlimited jewelry items to choose from.
What is Zales Jewelry Known For
Zales Jewelry Review
Zales was founded in 1924. Since then, it has over 700 stores across the U.S. and more overseas. For a retailer to exist that long and expand so far and wide, it must be doing things right.
This review, focused on engagement rings, will show what they are:
Zales offers about 9,386 engagement ring styles. Of that 7,748 are diamond engagement rings. This is a pretty huge number and can definitely provide a style that will suit a buyer like you.
Its diamond engagement rings come in a variety of metals, such as gold, silver, and platinum. The company also offers a wide range of diamond shapes not common elsewhere.
- It has limited choices of clarity and color
- The store does not provide good grading information
- Clarity of their diamonds is on the lower side
- It does not have an independent grading
- Prices are on the high side
Currently, Zales is one of the top jewelry stores in the U.S. It has come a long way from its humble beginnings in Wichita Falls, Texas, back in 1924. Now, it is the largest jewelry retail store in the U.S., with more than 2,300 outlets and small kiosks in all 50 states of the U.S., as well as Puerto Rico and Canada. While they have outlets all over the U.S., you can reach them through its website or check out our post, “Find Your Bling:10 Best Online Find Jewelry Stores” in the U.S.