In the 1920s, Morris (M.B.) and William Zale had a vision: to provide customers with quality merchandise at the lowest possible price. This vision became a reality when the first Zales Jewelers store opened in Wichita Falls, Texas, on March 29, 1924.
With a credit plan of "a penny down and a dollar a week," the Zale brothers launched a marketing strategy considered to be revolutionary at the time, and thus made jewelry and other merchandise affordable to the average working American. Friendly customer service, liberal credit policies, and dedicated employees led to great success and expansion, with 12 stores in Oklahoma and Texas by 1941.
During World War II, Zales Jewelers responded to the limited production of consumer goods by maintaining its current prices on jewelry, limiting expenses, and looking for growth opportunities. These efforts were rewarded in 1944 with the acquisition of Corrigan's of Houston, Zales' first "carriage trade" (fine jewelry) store, whose purchase eventually launched the Bailey Banks & Biddle brand.
In 1946, Zales Jewelers moved its headquarters from Wichita Falls to Dallas. The corporate offices were housed in the Mercantile Bank Building, the first of several locations. The company continued to prosper and in 1952, a profit sharing plan was introduced to employees.
Zales Jewelers took major steps in 1957 to broaden its reach in the marketplace. The first shopping center location was opened, marking a major shift from its strategy of operating only downtown stores. The same year, Zales announced the initial public offering of its stock (ZLC) and then began trading its public shares on the American Stock Exchange the following year.