Signet 2nd Quarter Same-Store Sales Up 3.4%

Signet Group plc, the world’s largest specialty retail jeweler, on Thursday reported that second quarter same-store sales rose 3.4 percent. Total sales for the period, ended Aug. 4, increased 7.4 percent to $787.2 million. At constant exchange rates, not taking into account currency fluctuations between the U.K. and U.S. currencies, the increase for the period was 5.4 percent.

In the U.S., which accounted for 74.2 percent of total Group sales for the quarter, same-store sales were up 2.2 percent. Total sales increased 5 percent to $584.3 million.

In the U.K., which accounted for 25.8 percent of total Group sales for the quarter, same-store sales rose 6.6 percent. Total sales increased 15.1 percent to $202.9 million. At constant exchange rates, the increase was 6.5 percent.

Group same-stores sales rose by 3.2 percent for the first-half of the year ended Aug. 4. Total sales were up by 9.2 percent on a reported basis to $1.6 billion, reflecting an underlying increase of 6.7 percent at constant exchange rates. The average U.S. dollar exchange rate for the period was £1/$1.99 (2006/07 H1: £1/$1.81).

In the U.S., which accounted for 76 percent of total Group sales for the period, same-store sales rose 2.7 percent. Total sales increased 7.6 percent to $1.2 billion.

In the U.K., which accounted for 24 percent of total Group sales for the period, same-store sales rose 4.6 percent. Total sales increased 14.5 percent to $385 million. At constant exchange rates, the increase was 4.2 percent.

“Against the background of a challenging retail environment in their respective markets, both divisions performed well,” said Terry Burman, Signet chief executive. “At the start of the second quarter the U.S. business experienced a weak Mother’s Day period. Since then trading has seen like for like sales growth of 3.8 percent, which was ahead of the underlying rate achieved in the first quarter. The UK has had an encouraging quarter with a like for like sales increase of 6.5 percent, helped by a particularly strong June.”

Signet operated 1,925 specialty retail jewelry stores, including 1,350 stores in the U.S., where the Group trades as “Kay Jewelers,” “Jared The Galleria Of Jewelry,” and under a number of regional names. Signet operates 575 stores in the U.K., where the Group trades as “H.Samuel,” “Ernest Jones,” and “Leslie Davis.”