Signet Jewelers reported better-than-expected preliminary sales results for the 2020 holiday season, with comps rising a healthy 5.6%.
Overall holiday sales totaled $1.8 billion, flat with last year. The company defined the holiday season as the nine weeks ending Jan. 2, 2021.
The sales growth was, not surprisingly, powered by strong e-commerce gains. Online sales jumped 60.8% over last year—while brick-and-mortar stores comps fell 4.1%. Signet also noted that sales at mall locations were “slightly negative,” but off-mall sales were up.
The results were slightly surprising, given that Signet executives had expressed caution about their holiday sales in early December.
At press time, Signet’s stock, which had traded in the $20 to $30 range for most of 2020, was priced at $42.
The jewelry giant said that all its banners—which, in the United States, include the Kay, Jared, Zales, and Piercing Pagoda chains—reported positive comp growth, though it didn’t break out results by banner as it had in the past.
Comps at Signet’s North American division jumped 7.8%, with transactions rising 4.4% and average transaction value increasing 1.6%. North American e-commerce sales grew 57.5%, and brick-and-mortar comps fell 0.8%.
Across the pond, there was a grimmer picture. The recently instituted governmental lockdown in the United Kingdom caused comps to drop 19.2% during the holiday, though e-commerce sales did rise 92.8%.
Also noted in Signet’s company statement:
– Fashion growth was noticeably strong at Zales and Piercing Pagoda, and bridal did well at Kay.
– The statement singled out new bridal lines Leo’s Ideal Cut and First Light at Kay, and Royal Asscher and Pnina Tornai at Jared, as well as fashion lines Center of Me at Kay and Vera Wang at Zales.
– The company had said it planned to close 380 of its over 3,000 stores this fiscal year, which ends in March. As of Jan. 2, it had closed 355 of them.
The statement ended by forecasting that Signet’s overall fourth-quarter comps, which include the holiday, could rise 4% to 5%.
“[Holiday] results were driven by new digital and fulfillment capabilities, increasingly personalized and insight-based marketing, banner portfolio differentiation, and a strong merchandising strategy that included competitive newness and a strengthened core assortment,” said Signet CEO Gina Drosos in a statement.
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