Industry / Retail

Signet Slashes Blue Nile Seattle Staff, Including Top Brass


Signet, which acquired Blue Nile last summer, plans to close the e-tailer’s Seattle fulfillment center in July and has already cut most of its top management.

The fulfillment center’s closing will affect 119 employees, according to a WARN notice filed on March 23.

“As part of the integration of Blue Nile, we will be reducing duplicative fulfillment center services to centralize these services within our existing New York City fulfillment center over the coming months,” Signet said in a statement to JCK. “This change unfortunately impacts the roles of some of our Blue Nile team members.”

The action follows closures of fulfillment centers in China and Dublin, Ireland.

In addition, many of Blue Nile’s executives—including Sean Kell, its CEO since 2019, and chief merchandising officer Katie Zimmerman—either have left or are planning to leave, JCK has learned. The company has retained some of its Seattle-area customer service staff (who mostly work out of their homes), tech workers, and members of its marketing team.

One Blue Nile employee tells JCK the fulfillment center was staffed by highly skilled people “with decades of experience.… This is a great opportunity to pick up very experienced people with industry-specific skills.”

Signet’s statement said that it’s “providing our impacted team members with outplacement and support services, and where appropriate, some team members have been offered a relocation package to join our operations in New York City or are exploring other roles throughout the company, including those in our Seattle operations.”

The employee agrees that “Signet and [subsidiary] R2Net are treating people with a lot of respect.”

Blue Nile has been based in Seattle since its inception in 1995, when it was founded as by local jeweler Doug Williams. In 1999, Bain consultant Mark Vadon bought the site and changed its name to Blue Nile.

In related news, Amit Eldar, the former global manager of e-commerce for Worthy, has just joined James Allen—Blue Nile’s longtime rival, which Signet purchased in 2017—as its vice president, new ventures, according to LinkedIn.

Top: a Blue Nile showroom (photo courtesy of Blue Nile)

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By: Rob Bates

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