Signet Group reported that total sales for the 2006/2007 fiscal year increased 8 percent to 1.9 billion pounds ($3.8 billion). Same-store sales for the 53-week period ended Feb. 3 rose 4.8 percent. However, the company did warn of weakening sales in the U.S. market.
Group profit before taxes increased 6.4 percent to 213.2 million pounds ($427 million) for the fiscal year. Net profits rose 8 percent to 141.5 million pounds ($283 million).
“The US business again increased its share of the $63 billion U.S. jewelry market and significantly outperformed its main competition,” said Terry Burman, Signet Group chief executive. “The UK division reported a solid increase in profits in a challenging trading environment.”
However, he added, “Since the start of the financial year the trading environment in the U.S. appears to have weakened somewhat. As a result, in the year to date, the U.S. business has experienced a low single digit like for like sales increase on an underlying basis, after taking into account the adverse weather disruption over Valentine’s Day and the benefit of the timing of promotional events. The strong competitive advantages of the division means it continues to be well positioned to gain further market share. In the UK, like for like sales growth has strengthened a little from the performance of last year, although the marketplace remains challenging.”
In the U.S.—where the Anglo-American company operates 1,308, which accounts for 75 percent of the company’s revenues—business increased 10 percent to 1.4 billion pounds ($2.8 billion). Same-store sales increased 6.8 percent for the fiscal year.
Signet said, its Kay Jewelers chain strengthened its number one specialty brand position in the U.S. with sales up 15.2% to $1,486.7million. Jared sales were up 24.4 percent for the year to $664.4 million.
In addition, new store space in the U.S. grew by 11 percent for the year, as part of Signet’s $1 billion five-year new store investment program.
In the U.K., where the company operates 581 stores, sales grew 2.7 percent to 482.5 million pounds ($655.7 million). Same-store sale grew 1.2 percent. Diamonds make up 30 percent of the product mix at U.K. stores, up from 23 percent in 2001/2002, the company said. A total of 44 percent of sales are from reformatted stores.
Signet operated 1,889 specialty retail jewelry stores. In the U.S. the Group trades as Kay Jewelers, Jared The Galleria Of Jewelry, and under a number of regional names. In the U.K., Group trades as H.Samuel, Ernest Jones, and Leslie Davis. The company also operates the Web sites: www.kay.com, www.jared.com, www.hsamuel.co.uk and www.ernestjones.co.uk.