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Retail News: Borsheims Teaches Scouts About Jewelry; Scathing Exposé Adds To Sterling Woes; More March 01, 2017 (0 comments)

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Borsheims Teaches Girl Scouts About Diamonds And Jewelry

Omaha, NE—A group of Girl Scouts is now well-educated about diamonds and jewelry, thanks to a collaboration hosted by Borsheims and their local Girl Scout council.  The young women spent an evening at Borsheims, with a packed agenda full of learning opportunities. 

The girls first took a store tour and received a broad overview of finished diamond and jewelry merchandise. Next, they partnered with one of Borsheims’ jewelers and appraisers. They then did a science experiment simulating crystal growth with Epsom salts, and saw a demonstration to learn about inclusions in diamonds.

Girl Scouts listen to a discussion about diamond and jewelry merchandise, above, and conduct an experiment to see how crystals grow, below.

The girls then worked together to create a beautiful diamond halo pendant on a rope chain, that Borsheims donated to the girls to auction off at the Girls Scouts’ Spirit of Nebraska “ArtVenture” fundraiser, which features hundreds of original works of art created by Girl Scouts and professional artists. 

The Girl Scouts sorted through findings and stones to create a diamond necklace to auction off at their "ArtVenture" fundraiser.

The final surprise for the girls came when Borsheims gave each of the scouts her own birthstone pendant. 

Adrienne Fay, Borsheims’ director of marketing and advertising, said the event is a perfect fit for Borsheims. “We love that these Girl Scouts can come and learn from all of our wonderfully talented and strong women here at Borsheims, from the jewelers and appraisers to our senior leadership,” she said. “We hope this experience stays with them forever and is just the start of their interest in jewelry.”

 

More Woes For Sterling: WaPo Sexual Harassment Story Goes Viral

Akron, OH—A searing article in Monday’s Washington Post detailing a longtime culture of sexual harassment at Sterling, the nation’s largest specialty jewelry retailer, went viral and was picked up across dozens of national media outlets (such as CBS News, Bloomberg, FortuneUSA Today and many more, including women's fashion publications like Glamour, Cosmopolitan, and Refinery29), as well as in the jewelry industry trade press this week. Sterling is the parent company of the Kay, Jared, and Zales retail brands.

A private class-action arbitration case first filed in 2008 alleges that throughout the late 1990s and 2000s, female employees of the company were routinely groped, demeaned, and urged to have sex with their bosses to obtain promotions, raises, or simply stay employed. Still unresolved, the case includes 69,000 women who are both current and former employees, says the article. 1,300 pages of sworn testimony were released Sunday, the Washington Post article appeared on Monday, and by Tuesday evening it had made headlines nationwide.

Sterling disputes the allegations. The Post says Sterling spokesman David Bouffard told the paper in a statement that company officials “have thoroughly investigated the allegations and have concluded they are not substantiated by the facts and certainly do not reflect our culture.” Bouffard’s responses to the other news outlets were the same.

Jewelry industry reaction to the story blew up on social media, with comments ranging from disbelief to observations that this was known in the industry but not taken seriously. 

Sterling’s 2016 holiday sales were down 5% year-on-year, driving two longtime executives to announce their retirements. Signet stock—parent company of Sterling in the United States—was down more than $65 a share on Tuesday morning; the latest of a 26% drop over the past year. The retalier also last year had to fend off allegations of diamond swapping in its stores.

 

JC Penney To Close 13% Of Stores

Plano, TX—JC Penney has announced plans to close between 130 and 140 of its 1,014-store portfolio, and offer early retirement to about 6,000 employees. The move, not unexpected, is part of the retailer’s efforts to create a seamless omnichannel brand experience, said CEO Marvin Ellison.

JC Penney reported flat sales year-on-year for 2016 and a very slight dip of less than 1% for the fourth quarter, but reported its first net income gain since 2010 and said jewelry was a top-selling category. 

Click here to watch a video explaining why department stores--including even luxury retailers like Saks Fifth Avenue and Nordstrom--must retool if they're to attract Millennials and survive.

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