Signet comparable store sales up 5.3%

Signet Group plc reported that total Group sales in the 13-week period ended Feb. 1 were £646.5 million ($1.58 billion), an increase of 5.8% at constant exchange rates, compared to the 13-week period from the previous year. At actual exchange rates total Group sales were down by 1.3% reflecting the weakening of the US dollar. Group comparable store sales increased by 3.9%. Highlights include:

* In the U.S., total sales fell 3.7% but comparable store sales rose 4.3%.
* At constant exchange rates US total sales increased by 6.4%.
* HSamuel comparable store sales were up by 1% and Ernest Jones up by 6.7%.
* At constant exchange rates Group total sales increased by 5.8%.

Total Group sales in the 52 weeks to February 1 were £1,608.2 million, up by 1.9% during the same period last year. On the basis of a comparable 52 week period Group total sales increased by 7.9% at constant exchange rates (3.4% at actual exchange rates) and comparable store sales by 5.3%. Other highlights for the period include:

* Total U.S. sales increased 0.7% with comparable sale up 5.4%
* On a comparable 52 week basis US total sales increased by 8.6% at constant exchange rates (2.2% at actual exchange rates).
* On a comparable 52 week basis UK total sales increased by 6.2%.
* HSamuel comparable store sales were up by 2.6% and Ernest Jones up by 9.4%.
* On a comparable 52 week basis Group total sales increased by 7.9% at constant exchange rates (3.4% at actual exchange rates).

Terry Burman, Group chief executive, said, “The 5.3% increase in full year like for like sales reflects further encouraging progress in both markets and builds on the Group’s consistent growth record.

The fourth quarter saw another solid advance in comparable store sales,” he continued. “The U.S. business, which had a particularly strong December, significantly outperformed the jewelry sector and continued to gain market share. The UK division delivered a relatively robust performance against the background of a challenging market place and demanding comparatives.”

Signet operates 1,659 specialty retail jewelry stores; these included 1,050 stores in the US, where the Group trades as “Kay Jewelers,” “Jared The Galleria Of Jewelry” and under a number of regional names. At that date Signet operated 609 stores in the UK, where the Group trades as “HSamuel,” “Ernest Jones,” and “Leslie Davis.”