Signet’s holiday same-store sales up 1.1 percent as U.S. gains offset U.K. losses

Signet Group plc, the world’s largest specialty retail jeweler, said Thursday that same-store sales for the holiday season were up 1.1 percent led by 5.5 percent gain in the United States which offset a 9.3 percent decline in the United Kingdom.

For the 48-week period ending Dec. 31, Signet reports that same-store sales were up 2.2 percent when compared to the same period in the previous year. The gain was led by a 6.8 percent surge in U.S., which offset a 6.8 percent decline in the U.K.

The U.S. accounts for more than 70 percent of total sales for the London-based company.

Profit before tax for the company’s 2005/06 fiscal year is expected to fall between $341 million and $352 million, said Terry Burman, Signet chief executive, in a statement.

Signet operated 1,820 speciality retail jewellery stores, including 1,219 stores in the US, where the Group trades as “Kay Jewelers,” “Jared The Galleria Of Jewelry,” and under a number of regional names; And 601 stores in the U.K., where the Group trades as “H.Samuel,” “Ernest Jones,” and “Leslie Davis.”