Sterling Does Vertical Integration in Reverse

In the bygone days of “Supplier of Choice,” the Signet Group’s (a.k.a. Sterling) announcement of a rough diamond sourcing initiative was seen as a harbinger of the industry’s vertically integrated future. The company was following in the footsteps of Tiffany, which has become a big customer of rough and DTC client. Signet opened an office in Antwerp, obtained factory space in India, and applied for a sight, which it didn’t get.

Well, no more … Today with its (disappointing) third quarter financial results, Sterling announced “it had decided to discontinue the Group’s rough diamond sourcing capability.”

Accordingly, the rough office in Antwerp is being closed, and Sterling has given up the factory space.

There are two reasons to this, said spokesman David Bouffard. First, “in the current environment it is better to concentrate on our core business.” And second, “the current volatility in the rough market.”

He said the initiative was “close to break even,” but still “in its early stages.”

JCK News Director