Signet Jewelers’ Fourth Quarter Comps Rise Nearly 5 Percent

The news is released as the company’s reliance on in-house credit has come under fire

Signet released preliminary results that showed its had comps increased 4.9 percent for the fourth quarter (ended Jan. 30).

Signet doesn’t typically release preliminary results, but the company “is excited about our fourth quarter results and wanted to share them now, rather than wait until March 24,” says spokesperson David Bouffard. “Announcing now also gives us the opportunity to create an open period to institute a share-buy-back program.”

The move comes as the company has been hit by some critical articles and commentary about the risks posed by its heavily reliance on in-house credit.

“Some analysts say Signet is pushing the limits of credit and accounting so far that it’s starting to look less like a jewelry business and more like a finance company—a sort of Money Store for diamonds and baubles,” Bloomberg wrote recently.

In a statement, Mark Light, CEO of Signet Jewelers, noted that “our credit metrics improved from the third quarter in line with expectations and we remain confident in the strength of our credit portfolio.”

The statement also noted that “Signet’s credit program contributed to profitability during the period.”

The company is increasing its expectations for total synergies from the Zale acquisition from the $150 million–$175 million range to $225 million–$250 million.

Signet’s board has approved new share repurchase authorization of $750 million as well as an 18 percent increase in dividend.

JCK News Director