U.S.-based Signet Jewelers, 'the world's largest retailer of diamond jewelry', has temporarily closed all of its stores in North America effective March 23, 2020 in response to the continued spread and impact of COVID-19. The company has also declined to issue a guidance for Q1 or for the full year of Fiscal 2021, instead opting to provide an update on first quarter sales trends to date.
Virginia C. Drosos, Chief Executive Officer, said in a statement that, "the health and safety of our team members and customers continues to be our top priority. Out of the highest respect for governmental orders and the advice of leading health officials, we have temporarily closed our physical locations in North America. Store team members will receive pay and benefits through April 4, 2020 in a combination of base pay and available paid time off provisions, at which time we will further assess the situation." She added, "Retailers are already experiencing the severe impact of the impact of COVID-19 on the global economy, and we are anticipating continued reduction in consumer spend."
She added that the jeweler is looking to strengthen Signet’s financial flexibility, prioritize investments, and reduce capital expenditures and operating expenses. This will include implementing reduced work hours, furloughs and reduced compensation across store and support center teams as we navigate this unprecedented environment.” To increase Signet’s financial flexibility and bolster its cash position, the company said it will access an additional $900 million from its senior secured asset-based revolving credit facility. As announced on January 16, 2020, Signet’s holiday period same store sales were up 1.6%, with North America same store sales up 2.0% and eCommerce sales up 13.5%.
The closures include the Signet’s retail businesses Kay Jewelers, Zales, Jared, James Allen, Peoples and Piercing Pagoda banners and the company’s support centers.