National Jeweler Network

Market Developments

Sterling completes $57M Ultra acquisition


Hamilton, Bermuda--Signet Jewelers Ltd., parent company of Sterling Jewelers Inc., announced early Friday that it has completed its $57 million purchase of Ultra Stores, Inc.

Headquartered in Chicago, Ultra Stores operates 102 Ultra Diamonds outlet stores and 38 stores through “other formats,” primarily licensed jewelry departments, for a total of 140 doors. A company spokesman confirmed on Friday that Ultra runs the jewelry departments in Burlington Coat Factory stores, and operates a small number of jewelry stores in airports and casinos.

Signet still is not releasing information about the branding of Ultra Diamonds--whether they will continue to operate under the Ultra name or become Kay Outlet stores--and the possible relocation of Ultra’s operations from Chicago to Sterling headquarters in Akron, Ohio.

“We look forward to working with our new team members as we continue to drive our competitive strengths for the future,” the spokesman said.

Signet first announced the acquisition of Ultra Stores on Oct. 24, with company CEO Michael Barnes noting at the time that the purchase gives Signet a bigger stake in the outlet store segment of the business. Signet currently operates 31 Kay Outlet locations.

Barnes reiterated this viewpoint on Friday. “We are pleased to complete the acquisition of Ultra Stores,” he said in a news release. “We expect Ultra to allow us to broaden our customer reach, build upon our market leadership position in specialty jewelry retail, and make Signet one of the leading jewelry players in the growing outlet channel.”

Signet is the country’s largest specialty jeweler, with $3.03 billion in watch and jewelry sales in 2011, according to National Jeweler’s 2012 list of $100 Million Supersellers.

Ultra Stores ranks No. 30 on that list with an estimated $145 million in watch and jewelry sales in 2011.