Signet Plans to Open 23 Stores, Sees Sales Soar

Signet plans to open 23 stores in the United States this year, CEO Michael Barnes said on an Aug. 25 conference call with analysts, according to a transcript posted on Morningstar.

“It looks like we’re probably going to open about 23 doors in the U.S. total,” Barnes said. “[Next year], we do think that we can open at least the same number of stores and probably even more than what we’re opening this year in the United States, but we don’t see the substantial increase in development that would be needed to drive that number much much higher.”

Other highlights of the call:

• The company is upgrading its U.S. websites and is looking into social networking. Currently, neither Kay nor Jared has an extensive social media presence.

• Despite all the talk of sales drops from Pandora, Barnes said, “We continue to see Pandora to be a very strong business for us at Jared and we continue to see strong double-digit comps.”

• The Neil Lane Bridal line is being rolled out to all the company’s Kay and Jared stores. Its Tolkowsky diamond collection is now available in 600 doors.

Barnes’ comments came as Signet announced another strong quarter. Some highlights of the company’s financial results, for the quarter ending July 30, 2011:

  • Total sales: $797.6 million, up 11%
  • Total U.S. sales: $643 million, up 11%
  • Total same store sales: up 10%
  • U.S. same store sales: up 12%
  • Total net operating income: $102.3 million, up 69%
  • U.S. net operating income: $104.4 million, up 72%
  • Income before taxes: $99.8 million, up 82%

For the year-to-date, total sales increased 11 percent and total same store sales went up 10 percent. U.S. sales and same store sales rose 11 percent and 12 percent, respectively.

The company also announced that that it would begin paying quarterly cash dividends on its common shares. The first dividend of 10 cents per share will be payable Nov. 28 to shareholders of record Oct. 28.