LP Magazine

JAN-FEB 2018

LP magazine publishes articles for loss prevention, asset protection, and retail professionals covering shrinkage, investigations, shoplifting, internal theft, fraud, technology, best practices, and career development.

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EDITOR'S NOTE: Kevin Valentine, CFI, LPC, retired at the end of 2017 as senior vice president of internal audit, loss prevention, and enterprise risk management for Signet Jewelers. He spent more than thirty-five years with the company in various management roles. During his career, Valentine was active in the loss prevention industry supporting LP Magazine, the Loss Prevention Foundation, and the Loss Prevention Research Council. EDITOR: Who is Signet Jewelers, and what brands make up the company? VALENTINE: Signet Jewelers Limited is the largest specialty jewelry retailer in the US, UK, and Canada. Signet operates approximately 3,600 stores primarily under the name brands of Kay Jewelers, Zales, Jared The Galleria Of Jewelry, H.Samuel, Ernest Jones, Peoples, and Piercing Pagoda. Signet also operates JamesAllen.com. The company's annual sales of approximately $6.4 billion derive from the retailing of jewelry, watches, and associated services. EDITOR: How did Signet come about? VALENTINE: Signet Group PLC was incorporated in England and Wales on January 27, 1950, under the name Ratners (Jewellers) Limited. The name of the company was changed on December 10, 1981, to Ratners (Jewellers) Public Limited Company, on February 9, 1987, to Ratners Group PLC, and on September 10, 1993, to Signet Group PLC. The group expanded rapidly by acquisition during the period 1984 to 1990. It first entered the US market in 1987 by acquiring Sterling Inc., a company based in Akron, Ohio. Kay Jewelers Inc. was acquired in 1990 and Marks & Morgan Jewelers Inc. in 2000. On September 11, 2008, Signet Group PLC became a wholly owned subsidiary of Signet Jewelers Limited. Signet also moved its country of domicile from the United Kingdom to Bermuda on the same day, although it retains headquarters in Akron, Ohio. In February 2014, Signet Jewelers Ltd. agreed to buy Zale Corporation. In July 2017, Virginia Drosos was appointed as the new CEO of Signet Jewelers Ltd., replacing Mark Light who had served as CEO since October 2014. In August 2017, it was announced that Signet Jewelers Ltd. agreed to buy R2Net, owner of online jewelry retailer James Allen. EDITOR: You advertise yourself as the world's largest retailer of diamond jewelry. What are some of the statistics that relate to that claim? VALENTINE: This is based on the volume of Signet's sales and the overall percentage of those sales that are diamonds. EDITOR: In how many countries do you have retail operations or manufacturing locations? VALENTINE: Signet has retail operations in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Signet also has a diamond liaison office in India, a diamond-polishing factory in Botswana, and a design center office in New York. EDITOR: Describe your career path and previous responsibilities inside the company. VALENTINE: Originally when I was hired as the director of loss prevention, the company was called Sterling Merchandise. We were a privately held company with seventy-three stores. I was the company's first loss prevention person and was given the task of building a loss prevention program with no staff. There was literally nothing except a table, a straight-back chair, and a two-drawer, empty filing cabinet. In 1985, I was able to justify hiring my first regional loss prevention investigator and was also given the responsibility of the inventory control department and the telecommunications department. In 1986, an investment group purchased the company, and we went public, which allowed us to start expanding and acquiring other jewelers across the US. Becoming part of the due-diligence team as we continued to make acquisitions became a very exciting and fulfilling experience. In 1987, the company was purchased and became a wholly owned subsidiary of UK-based Signet Jewelers Limited, which operated jewelry stores in the UK. Because of the company's growth, in 1989 we started an internal audit department, and I was promoted to director of loss prevention and internal audit Sterling Jewelers, another company name change. We also started a store retail and corporate audit program. Then in 1992, I was promoted to the vice president of loss prevention, internal audit, and inventory control with the responsibility of 500 stores in seven years, having grown from seventy-three. In 2002, the internal audit department became the project management office for Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) compliance. In 2012, I was promoted to vice president internal audit and enterprise risk management (ERM) Signet International, which included all LP, internal audit, risk management, and physical security in the US, UK, India, and Botswana. At the same time, I started to report functionally Signet has retail operations in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Signet also has a diamond liaison office in India, a diamond-polishing factory in Botswana, and a design center office in New York. 24 JANUARY–FEBRUARY 2018 | LOSSPREVENTIONMEDIA.COM INTERVIEW

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