Ultra Stores goes above and beyond to sell fine jewelry for less. It's a leading seller of off-price bridal and diamond and gemstone jewelry, as well as watches and gifts. It operates some 165 shops under the Ultra Diamonds and Premier Fine Jewelry brands in more than 30 states, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands. It also sells jewelry online and buys used jewelry. The company emerged from a short stint in bankruptcy in 2009 after closing about a dozen stores and shuttering leased locations in Burlington Coat Factory and Filene's Basement stores. Chicago investment firm Crystal Capital owns a majority stake in Ultra Stores, which was founded in 1991. Specialty retailer Signet Jewelers is buying the company.
Signet in late 2012 agreed to purchase Ultra Stores from Crystal Capital's Crystal Financial for some $57 million in cash. Signet is one of the largest specialty retail jewelers in the US and the UK, operating more than 1,300 stores in all 50 states under the brands Key Jewelers and Jared The Galleria of Jewelry and 500 stores in the UK under the banners H. Samuel and Ernest Jones.
Crystal Capital had assumed 56% of the company in return for converting half of its debt into equity. Unsecured creditors assumed 18% ownership, while Ultra's existing management team, which remained in place, assumed 26%. The value-priced jewelry retailer cited poor economic conditions and liquidity problems as factors contributing to its latest bankruptcy. (Previously, Ultra Stores emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2002.) – less