Description: The study begins by examining economic, political, and social conditions in Tsarist Russia that prompted the Zale family to immigrate to the United States. They eventually settled in Texas where, as a boy, Morris Zale was introduced to the jewelry business. In his first store in Wichita Falls Zale developed the idea of mass marketing his merchandise, and in order to do so he offered credit to his customers. He also made extensive use of advertising. Both of those approaches were revolutionary in the retail jewelry industry. This study examines various methods used by Zale's to expand its holdings. In addition, attention is given to Zale's diversification in the late 1960's and early 1970's. Emphasis is given in the study to Zale's development of a vertically integrated structure. By purchasing diamonds directly from the Diamond Trading Company, Zale's has been able to process the stones at each stage—cutting, polishing, mounting, and marketing. Such an arrangement eliminated middlemen at each step, permitting Zale's to reduce markups and margins and still maintain necessary profit levels. This study examines several serious adversities that have confronted the company—racial and religious prejudice, the Depression, shortages brought on by World War II, potential competition from a synthetic diamond, and an internal scandal involving Zale's chief financial officer. In each case Zale's managed to emerge from the adversity stronger than it had been previously. From the outset Zale's objective has been to sell the greatest amount of jewelry to the greatest number of people at the lowest possible price, and this study indicates how successful the company has been in reaching that goal.
Date: May 1984
Creator: Stringer, Tommy W. (Tommy Wayne)