FINANCE

Signet Jewlers Ltd. to acquire Ultra Stores

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Signet Jewelers Ltd. announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Ultra Stores, Inc. from Crystal Financial LLC. and its other stockholders for approximately $57 million in cash. Ultra operates stores primarily in outlet centers, as well as licensed jewelry departments.

Signet will not assume any debt in connection with the acquisition.

"The addition of Ultra will immediately result in our having a significant share of the outlet channel for jewelry," said Michael W. Barnes, CEO of Signet Jewelers. "We had identified this rapidly growing channel as an opportunity to profitably increase our sales, enabling us to leverage our competitive strengths and add Ultra’s expertise to our team.”

Signet Jewelers’ U.S. division operates over 1,300 stores in all 50 states primarily under the name brands of Kay Jewelers and Jared The Galleria of Jewelry. Signet’s UK division operates approximately 500 stores primarily under the name brands of H. Samuel and Ernest Jones.

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FINANCE

Jones Group’s profit helped by sales to department stores

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Jones Group Inc. reported a higher-than-expected quarterly profit, helped by a rise in sales of shoes and jeans to U.S. department stores, which helped make up for a big drop in business at its own stores.

Third-quarter revenue slipped 0.7% to $1.035 billion as sales at the company’s U.S. stores were down 6.7%.

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OPERATIONS

The Body Shop launches eGift card program from CashStar

BY Staff Writer

PORTLAND, Maine — The Body Shop launched a new earth-friendly eGift Card service powered by CashStar, a digital gifting and incentives company. Customers can now purchase and send personalized eGift Cards to family and friends for redemption online or at any of the thousands of The Body Shop stores across the United States and Canada.

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