a branch of ratner's jeweller

Who remembers Ratner’s?

(First published by Neil on 13/03/2018)

Today’s blog has nothing to do with E-Learning Development, but the subject came up on a recent project and I found it to be a real eye-opener. Most of us remember the Ratner’s debacle, don’t we? Gerald Ratner had built up the family jeweller’s business into a very successful group that included not just Ratner’s but H Samuel and Ernest Jones. Then he told a conference of the Institute of Directors that his products were “crap” and that one set of earrings was, “cheaper than an M&S prawn sandwich but probably wouldn’t last as long.”

What happened next is where most of us probably have the story wrong. Customers stayed away in droves and the group went bust with hundreds of jobs lost, right? Well, actually not quite. Shares plummeted by £500 million, yes, and Ratner’s branches closed. But what I only found out recently, was that, in a masterpiece of re-branding, the group sacked Gerald Ratner and changed its name to the Signet Group, who are doing very nicely to this day, thank you very much, and probably have one or more stores in your own town centre, whether it’s a Kays, H Samuel, Ernest Jones, or even what you thought was a ‘local’ business.

Many of us think our own department would do perfectly well on its own, but the truth is quite different. R&D, HR, Production, QA, and yes, even Marketing have a role to play in a successful business.

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