H Samuel and Ernest Jones owner appoints new digital director

H Samuel and Ernest Jones parent company Signet Jewelers has named Matthew Gratze as its new digital director.

Gratze has been appointed as part of the executive team under newly established managing director Neil Old, who left photography products retailer Jessops in September to head up the UK division of the US-based jewellery retailer.

The new digital director arrives after a two-year spell at Halfords, where he led the replatforming of the bike and auto parts retailer’s website. A new Salesforce Commerce Cloud-supported Halfords site is set to go live early in the new year, bringing the autocentres and retail businessestogether online for the first time.

Prior to joining Halfords, Gratze was director of global eCommerce at Mothercare. He has also held senior digital roles at lingerie and sex toys retailer Ann Summers, and DIY chain Homebase, when it was part of the Home Retail Group.

As reported by Essential Retail, Gratze’s replacement at Halfords is Emma Mead, who joined the retailer in August from her role as group omnichannel director at Holland & Barrett.

Signet chose not to provide any further details about Gratze’s new role, when approached for information by this publication.

Last week, the group, which owns Kay Jewelers and Zales in the US, reported third quarter results showing overall revenue had edged up year-on-year – although UK sales were down.

UK like-for-like sales dropped by 5.2% year on year, and total revenue was $106.4 million. The retailer said average transaction value and the volume of transactions in the UK decreased by 1.4% and 4.3%, respectively, reflecting the country's "difficult operating environment".

Speaking for the group, Signet CEO Virginia Drosos said: “As we approach the key selling weeks ahead, we are focused on successfully executing our customer-inspired holiday plans featuring new on-trend merchandise, enhanced eCommerce capabilities, and more relevant and targeted marketing campaigns.”

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