Signet Completes Acquisition of Ultra, Will Keep Leased Divisions

Mark one more company off your list of standalone high-volume jewelers.

On Nov. 2, Signet announced it had completed its $57 million acquisition of Ultra Stores—and that Ultra will still operate leased stores in the Burlington Coat Factory, hotels, and casinos. The acquisition was first announced Oct. 24.

Ultra currently comprises includes the 102 Ultra locations and 38 other formats, primarily licensed jewelry departments. It did $140 million in business in the last fiscal year, Signet said.

Sterling, Signet’s U.S. division, currently comprises 1,323 stores, so this acquisition means Sterling will now have 1,463 stores in the United States. That brings its American footprint closer to rival Zale Corp., which has about 1,572 stores in the United States (654 of which are Piercing Pagoda kiosks). Sterling currently claims more stores worldwide.

Signet spokesman David Bouffard wouldn’t comment on whether Ultra’s headquarters, currently in Chicago, will relocate to Sterling’s U.S. headquarters in Ohio, or whether it will keep the Ultra name or rebrand all the stores Kay Outlets. (Kay currently has 31 outlets.)

However, in a statement, CEO Michael Barnes did indicate that some personnel will be kept, saying: “We look forward to working with our new team members.”

He added: “We expect Ultra to allow us to broaden our customer reach…and make Signet one of the leading jewelry players in the growing outlet channel.”

The acquisition is expected to add $40 million–$45 million to Signet’s fiscal 2013 fourth quarter sales and will have minimal affect on the period’s earnings, the company said. Signet is not taking on any debt as the result of the purchase.

Signet’s last major purchase was Marks and Morgan Jewelers in 2000.

Duff & Phelps acted as financial advisor on the sale.

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