Signet has a strong year

British jewelry store group Signet said on Wednesday war in Iraq (and bad weather in the United States were dampening consumer sentiment as it reported a 9% rise in annual profit, Reuters reports.

Signet, which makes about 70% of its sales in the United States, is vulnerable to the mood of U.S. shoppers.

“Consumer confidence is down in both markets and I believe we and other retailers are being impacted by that,” Chief Executive Terry Burman told reporters.

The owner of H.Samuel and Ernest Jones chains in the UK and the Jared and Kay stores in the United States reported pre-tax profit of $315.2 million in the year ended February 1, an increase of 182.8 million from the previous year.

The company said subsequent trading had been affected by “inclement weather in the U.S., the timing of Easter and the geopolitical situation,” however.

In its year just ended, Signet said its U.S. business increased underlying operating profit by 16%, outperforming the specialty jewelry sector and gaining market share.

The UK business increased underlying operating profit by 13% against a background of a marked slowing in the growth of consumer expenditure in the last quarter.