Signet same store sales up 8.7% in first quarter

Signet Group plc, London, the world’s largest specialty retail jeweler, reports that Group sales in the first quarter were $617.7 million (Feb. 1 – May 1), an increase of 11.5% over the first quarter of 2003 at constant exchange rates. At actual exchange rates Group sales were up by 0.5%, reflecting the weakening of the U.S. dollar, the company said. Same store sales for the quarter were 8.7% over the previous first quarter.

In the U.S., where the Group’s subsidiary Sterling Jewelers operates 1,115 stores under the names Kay Jewelers, Jared The Galleria Of Jewelry, and a number of regional names, total sales for the quarter were $443.4 million for the quarter, a 14.3% increase under constant exchange rates and a 1.2% decrease under actual exchange rates. Same store sales were up 9.5%.

In the U.K., where the Group operates 602 stores under the names H.Samuel, Ernest Jones, and Leslie Davis, total sales were $174.3 million for the quarter, an increase of 11.5% at constant exchange rates and 5% at actual exchange rates. Same store sales were up 6.7%.

“The Group has had a strong first quarter,” Terry Burman, Group Chief Executive, said in a statement, “including an exceptionally good performance over the Valentine’s Day period.”