By Lenore Fedow
Akron, Ohio—Signet Jewelers Ltd. is offering a “voluntary transition program” to its more than 3,000 corporate employees in Akron, Ohio, and Dallas as it looks to cut costs, two memos shared with National Jeweler show.

Employees in store support centers who have been with Signet for two years or more as well as in a district manager position or above can opt to leave the company.

In turn, the company will offer the usual severance packages as well as assistance in finding a new job, including resume-building and interviewing classes. Direct job placement, however, will not be provided.

Signet employs a total of about 3,400 people at its two headquarters; 2,608 in Akron and 789 in Dallas, the longtime headquarters of the Zale business.

Signet Vice President of Corporate Affairs David Bouffard said Thursday that while there is no set number of employees needed to depart, there is a yet-undisclosed cost-savings figure that will need to be met.

If Signet doesn’t hit that number, then layoffs will follow and those who are laid off will also have the benefit of the transition assistance, he said.

“We are hopeful that we can achieve the cost savings we need in this voluntary way, but we may need to make further headcount reductions to free needed funding for investments,” said CEO Virginia Drosos in one of the company’s memos.

Employees have until March 25 to submit an application, as per a memo sent out by Chief People Officer Mary Liz Finn.

Signet will decide who is accepted into the “voluntary transition program” by April 16, and those who are leaving will be gone by the end of April.

The cost-savings number will be disclosed in Signet’s fourth-quarter results, which are set to be released April 3 after being postponed from March.

Signet is coming off a rough holiday season that Drosos said “fell short of our expectations” and is looking to slim down by closing stores, negotiating for lower rents, cutting spending, reducing the cost of goods and trimming staff.

In addition to cutting employees at company headquarters, Signet also is not giving raises to workers in its Support Center this year, with Finn calling it a “very difficult decision” in her memo.

Get the Daily News >
National Jeweler

Fine Jewelry Industry News

Since 1906, National Jeweler has been the must-read news source for smart jewelry professionals--jewelry retailers, designers, buyers, manufacturers, and suppliers. From market analysis to emerging jewelry trends, we cover the important industry topics vital to the everyday success of jewelry professionals worldwide. National Jeweler delivers the most urgent jewelry news necessary for running your day-to-day jewelry business here, and via our daily e-newsletter, website and other specialty publications, such as "The State of the Majors." National Jeweler is published by Jewelers of America, the leading nonprofit jewelry association in the United States.