Whitehall Struggles With Cash Crunch, Loss of Raff

Whitehall Jewelers has announced it is short on cash and has asked for extra time to pay its suppliers.

In addition, less than a month after accepting the job, Beryl Raff, former chief executive officer of Zale, has decided not to become head of the company. In a statement, the company said that “it needs additional capital to support its operations” and is “evaluating various alternatives to meet these needs, including the raising of additional debt or equity financing.”

It added that it’s asked for “temporary extensions of payment terms from some of its key suppliers” and is retaining restructuring professionals to assist it.

It was not known at press time whether Raff’s change of heart and the company’s financial woes are related, but the company says it’s “assessing legal and other alternatives.” Raff will return compensation paid to her by the company.

Raff took the Whitehall job after serving as senior vice president and general merchandise manager of fine jewelry for JCPenney, a post she has held since 2001.

Whitehall operates 388 stores in 38 states.