I'm always amazed about how Wall Street analysts just don't talk about certain things. Case in point: Signet Jewelers (SIG). The company has a new CEO in Virginia Drosos, who replaced Mark Light on August 1. The reason given for the change at the time was "health reasons," but as many reports noted, Light allegedly played a role in the alleged sexual discrimination and harassment at Signet's Kay and Jared units. Against that backdrop, is it any wonder that Signet might want to appoint a woman for the job?
Of course, none of this gets a mention from most of the analyst community. And maybe that's the way it should be. Turning around Signet won't be an easy job, and it will be Drosos as ability as a CEO, not a female CEO that will determine the future of the stock. Cowen's Oliver Chen and team like what they've seen so far:We are impressed with the new CEO’s priorities on increasing SIG’s speed and agility, accelerating digital innovation, and re-focusing on the customer. In Cowen’s view, greater customer centricity and focus is the overarching need and executing with this methodology should yield: (1) an improved and more customer relevant path-to-purchase which melds mobile, desktop, and stores; (2) product which is more in sync to the evolution of the way new customers live their lives – which is very different today given individuals are marrying later and less standardized in their approach to relationships; and (3) a very different interaction with physical stores – going to physical stores less frequently but actually engaging with the company more given online research. A central pillar of SIG’s stores needs to be “experiences,” in our view, and we also believe SIG needs to rethink the jewelry cabinet selling model to a mixed selling model with more open format and a degree of curation. Our take is that: greater curation, less can be more, a re-emphasis on service, and bringing theater with a commercial purpose into the selling experience are key near and long-term opportunities.
Shares of Signet Jewelers have gained 3.1% to $68.31 at 3:14 p.m. today.