Signet Closing 380 Stores This Year as Sales Are Hit by COVID-19

Signet Jewelers won’t reopen 230 stores it closed due to COVID-19 and then plans to close another 150 stores this year, executives said in a conference call held Tuesday.

The stores that won’t reopen include 150 stores in North America and 80 stores in the United Kingdom.

These closures mean that Signet’s store footprint will have shrunk more than 20% over the past few years, chief executive officer Gina Drosos (pictured) said in a conference call following the release of its financial results.

Most of the closures were in B- and C-rated malls, she said.

“We have mapped the country…to say, ‘If we were starting today, which markets justify one store, two stores, three stores, or more, and where would we put them?'” she said. “We have used that customer-first lens to really understand what that store footprint will look like.”

Drosos said that 1,100 stores that were temporarily closed due to COVID-19 have reopened, with initial revenue “exceeding expectations.”

“The revenue is covering the operating expenses on a four-wall basis,” said Drosos.

She said her plan was to have at least 75% of its 3,172-store fleet reopened by the end of June.

Overall comps for the second quarter of fiscal 2021 (ended May 2) fell 39%, largely due to the late-March shutting of its stores. Overall sales came in at $852.1 million, down 40.5% from the prior year. However, February comps—pre-COVID—saw “low single-digit” gains.

The company posted a $142 million loss for the quarter, compared to a $24.2 million profit last year.

E-commerce sales were a bright spot: They rose 6.7%, though that number equals 18.2%, when it excludes the closure of James Allen’s New York City’s distribution center.

The company said it had identified more than $100 million “in structural cost savings,” in response to the pandemic.

Drosos opened the call by condemning the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers.

“Racism has no place in our world,” she said, “especially not in a country devoted to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all.”

(Image courtesy of Signet Jewelers)

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JCK News Director