Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Page 8 Page 9 Page 10 Page 11 Page 12 Page 13 Page 14 Page 15 Page 16 Page 17 Page 18 Page 19 Page 20 Page 21 Page 22 Page 23 Page 24 Page 25 Page 26 Page 27 Page 28 Page 29 Page 30 Page 31 Page 32 Page 33 Page 34 Page 35 Page 36 Page 37 Page 38 Page 39 Page 40 Page 41 Page 42 Page 43 Page 44 Page 45 Page 46 Page 47 Page 48 Page 49 Page 50 Page 51 Page 52 Page 53 Page 54 Page 55 Page 56 Page 57 Page 58 Page 59 Page 60 Page 61 Page 62 Page 63 Page 64 Page 65 Page 66 Page 67 Page 6812 STATE OF THE MAJORS 2016 Let’s start with the biggest change of all: Signet Jewelers Ltd. acquiring Zale Corp. in 2014, after years of both chains swallowing up independent regional players such as J.B. Robinson, Gordon’s and Weisfield Jewelers. Signet and Zale each were ringing up more than $2 billion in sales annually at their stores nation- wide, which, combined, totaled more than 3,500 doors. But there wasn’t room in the industry for two players of this size, and Zale was absorbed by its longtime rival. It was a move that Janos Consultants founder Ben Janowski calls the “culmination of consolidation,” the zenith in a string of acquisitions among the country’s major chains that began back in the 1980s. Both he and industry analyst Ken Gassman agree—it was a long time coming in jewelry. The industry, say these analysts, was late to the party of retail consolidations that already had compressed myriad other categories, including consumer electronics, hardware, office and pet supplies. Signet, with 3,122 stores and $5.8 billion in sales for its fiscal 2016 year (ended Jan. 30, 2016), sits atop both of National Jeweler’s lists, the “$100 Million Super- sellers” and “Top 50 North American Retail Jewelry Chains by Store Count.” Other chains aren’t even close. The company sold twice as much fine jewelry as its closest competitor last year (Wal-Mart Stores Inc., with an estimated $2.54 billion in jewelry sales for fiscal 2016, ending Jan. 31, 2016). Signet also had nearly 10 times as many stores as the next specialty jewelry chain (Fred Meyer Jewelers, with 323). It’s good to be king, or so Mel Brooks and Tom Petty tell us. And indeed, Signet does have some advantages that allow it to maintain the title of world’s largest retailer of diamond jewelry by sales volume. The com- pany is a De Beers sightholder, member of the Alrosa Alliance and Rio Tinto Select Diamantaire. The com- pany also has its own cutting and polishing factory in Botswana, as well as a liaison office in Mumbai, giving it a consistent supply of diamonds in the qualities it needs. A retailer of this size also wields tremendous buying power and has a big marketing budget, allowing Signet to dominate the airwaves and internet, keeping phrases such as “Every kiss begins with Kay” and “He went to Jared” top of mind among consumers. However, being in retail today presents many chal- lenges, whether it’s a chain the size of Kay Jewelers, a retailer with rock-solid brand equity like Tiffany & Co., or a one-store mom-and-pop shop. Retailers today must give consumers—who can buy almost anything from the comfort of their couches—a reason to come into stores and compete for their dollars in a culture with a shrinking middle class and a growing desire for experiences over ownership of material objects. “Retail,” Janowski observes, “has become the province of the daring.” 20 16 MACY’S #4 on $100M TIFFANY & CO. #3 on $100M #6 on TOP 50