Zales is one of the most recognized brands in the jewelry industry. The giant that is now Zale Corporation began with a store called Zales Jewelers in Wichita Falls, Texasin 1924. The store was opened by Morris and William Zale and originally featured small appliances, cameras and cookware along with their jewelry inventory.
The Zale brothers created a credit plan for their customers requiring a penny down and only a dollar a week in payments. This innovative marketing strategy helped make jewelry affordable to almost every consumer. By 1942, Zales had 12 stores in Texas and Oklahoma. The growth between 1938 and 1942 is accredited to the success of Zale’s credit policy and customer service. This growth created the demand for a centralized buying system to coordinate the procurement and distribution of merchandise in their stores. The centralization allowed Zales to buy in larger quantities and offer lower prices. The creation of this procurement center marked the beginning of the retail chain concept for Zales. In 1946 Zales Jewelers moved the corporate headquarters from Wichita Falls to Dallas, Texas. In 1985 the corporate headquarters moved to Irving, Texas.
Zale Corporation has grown to encompass six retail brands making up 1,900 stores in North America. Zale Corporation also has two websites as well, www.zales.com and www.gordonsjewelers.com. In 1944 Zales purchased Corrigan’s of Houston, its first fine jewelry store. Corrigan’s eventually lead to the launch of the Bailey Banks & Biddle brand. Zales launched its IPO (ZLC) in 1957 and began trading its public shares on the American Stock Exchange in 1958.
In 1960, Zales began diversifying by adding shoes, sporting goods, drug stores, furniture, and catalog stores. To reflect the diversification of the company, the company became Zale Corporation. M.B. Zale retired from being the company chairman in 1970. Between 1970 and 1980, company sales triple to $1.04 billion. In 1989 the company acquired Gordon’s Jewelers, a 469 store chain.
In 1992, Zale Corporation filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy only to return a year later as a financially strong company after the restructuring of debt. Within five years, annual sales were $1.3 billion with profits in all four quarter. In 1998, the Zales Outlet was unveiled with 13 outlet centers nationwide. At the same time, online shopping is launched at www.zales.com. Zale Corporation celebrated the turn of the century with the acquisitions of both Peoples Jewelers of Canada and Piercing Pagoda. In 2007, Zale Corporation sells the Bailey Banks & Biddle brand which died out only a few short years later.
Zale Corporations Vision: Provide customers with quality merchandise at the lowest possible price.