Gerald Ratner was the managing director of a big jewellery business. In the eighties "Ratners" jewellery shops could be found in every British city and large town. They were very profitable and took the mystique and stuffiness out of traditional jewellery retailing. The market they aimed for was distinctly working class - making jewellery affordable for the masses.
Everything was trucking along very nicely until Gerald Ratner made a much reported speech to The Institute of Directors on April 23rd 1991. He said this:-