Location of the original Zales store in Wichita Falls, Texas
The Zale Corporation is an American jewelry retailer, incorporated in Delaware in 1993. The principal executive offices are located in Irving, Texas.
The company began in 1924 in Wichita Falls, Texas, when Morris (M. B.) Zale, William Zale, and Ben Lipshy opened the first Zales Jewelers store. As a marketing strategy, the Zale brothers instituted a credit plan whereby customers could pay "a penny down and a dollar a week," making jewelry and other merchandise affordable for the average working American. The success of this credit policy led to the company expanding to a total of 12 stores in Oklahoma and Texas by 1941. Zales Jewelers moved its headquarters from Wichita Falls to Dallas in 1946. In 1998, online shopping was opened at www.zales.com.
In 1957, Zales Jewelers opened its first store in a shopping center—a major shift from operating only in downtown locations. The same year, Zales announced the initial public offering of its stock (ZLC) and began trading its public shares on the American Stock Exchange in 1958. In 1989, Zale acquired Gordon Jewelry. Zales bought the Skillern Drug pharmacy chain in the 1960s, but sold it in 1980.
Until 1986, Zales operated a catalog showroom called O. G. Wilson.
In 1986, People’s Jewelers bought Zales.
In 1999 and 2000, Zale expanded with two major acquisitions: Peoples Jewellers of Canada and Piercing Pagoda.
In 2007, the Company divested its Bailey Banks and Biddle brand to Finlay.
In February 2014, Signet Jewelers agreed to buy Zale Corporation, with Zale shareholders receiving USD$21 a share in cash in USD$1.3 billion deal. This merger will create a $6.2 billion firm.
In January 2017, Zales announced it would close many of its mall stores when the leases expire, according to a report from NBC affiliate WGAL in Pennsylvania.