Signet Fourth Quarter Same-Store Sales Up 4.2%; Sterling to Stay in Akron

Signet Group plc reported that same-store sales rose 4.2 percent in the fourth quarter. Total sales for the 14-week period ended Feb. 3 increased 14.3 percent at constant exchange rates and 5 percent on a reported basis to 754.6 million pounds ($1.46 billion).

The London-based jewelry retailer said U.S. sales, which account for about 75 percent of all revenue, were adversely affected due to the change in timing of a promotional event running up to Valentine’s Day. On a 13 week basis to Jan. 27, which is not impacted by this promotional timing difference, same-store sales were up 5.6 percent.

Signet said U.S. sales for the 14-week period, ended to Feb. 3 were of 550.4 million ($1.06 billion). Signet’s U.S. subsidiary, Sterling Jewelers Inc., operates under Kay Jewelers, Jared The Galleria Of Jewelry, and a number of regional names.

U.K. sales rose 1.5 percent on a same-store basis and totaled 204.2 million pounds ($396.4 million). The Group operates under H.Samuel, Ernest Jones, and Leslie Davis.

For the 53-week period ended Feb. 3, Group same-store sales rose 4.8 percent, again with U.S. sales adversely affected due to the change in timing of a Valentine’s Day promotion. On a 52 week basis ended Jan. 27, same-store sales increased 5.4 percent. Group sales for the 53 week period increased by 11.5 percent at constant exchange rates, and by 8.1 percent on a reported basis to pounds 1,893 million ($3.7 billion).

“In the fourth quarter, the U.S. business continued to trade well with same-store sales up 7.3 percent, excluding the final week that was impacted by the timing of a promotional event associated with Valentine’s Day. The UK division made satisfactory progress, said Terry Burman, Signet chief executive.

“For the year as a whole the U.S. business again increased its share of the $60 billion US jewelry market, with like for like sales up by 7 percent on a 52 week basis,” Burman added. “On the same basis, U.K. like for like sales were up 1.1 percent in a challenging retail environment.”

Signet operates approximately 1,888 specialty retail jewelry stores, including 1,307 stores in the U.S. and 581 stores in the U.K.

In related news, Sterling Jewelers will keep its U.S. headquarters in Akron, Ohio, until 2032 under a new agreement, the Akron Beacon Journal reports.

The company will reportedly invest more than $1 billion for improvements and expansion of its campus. Sterling is Akron’s fifth largest employer.