5 Noteworthy Nuggets From Signet’s Latest Conference Call

Here are five things I learned from the recent Signet conference call, following the release of its recent financial results, based on the transcript from Seeking Alpha.

1. Signet is “all over” wearable technology.

In an intriguing example of the new Signet trying to stay ahead of the curve, CEO Mark Light said the company is seriously looking into the still-unproven world of tech jewelry.

“Anybody who’s selling any type of product being worn on their body, their wrist, their neck is a competitor of ours,” he said. “And wearable technology is something we’re all over. And we’re obviously talking to all of our current partners, and we’re looking at the opportunities of what we can do to be in that facility.”

He did note, for all the Apple Watch hype, the watch business did well in both the United States and the United Kingdom.

2. Jared had a meh quarter.

Jared’s comps increased only .02 percent this time around (with 4.4 percent sales growth overall), leading to all sorts of questions from analysts.

“Jared has had 21 out of 22 quarters of positive comps,” said Light. “And so, we feel, relative to the Jared business, we are definitely capturing profitable market share.”

Still, the company is testing both new radio and direct-mail advertising as well as its first-ever branded book. It will also focus more on the bridal business.

3. Vera! Vera! Vera!

Vera Wang not only scored well for Zales but also in tests in the United Kingdom and Jared. People love Vera.

4. Were Zales and Kay competitors? Maybe not.

“Zales, Kay, and Jared are within the mid-market,” said Light. “But they actually have different customers, different base customers, within that mid-market.”

“One of the nicest things that we found during the analysis of the Zale acquisition, is that Zales’ customer within the mid-market is actually different than that of Kay and Jared.”

He promised more details on this in an upcoming conference.

5. Signet is annoyed no one else is advertising jewelry. 

“If I had to say we’re concerned with anything it’s, other than us, we would like for more of our industry to advertise more,” Light said. “We are the only big national advertiser out there. And to compete with the other products for that discretionary income, we need our industry to advertise more.”

Of course, Signet did just buy Zale, which was the only other chain whose ad budget came close to Sterling’s. But it’s a valid point. It’s just not clear what company would take up that mantle. (And if they did, would Signet buy it?)

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JCK News Director