Signet posts nine month 7% sales gain

The Signet Group, the world’s largest specialty retail jeweler, saw a 3.7% gain in its third quarter sales to about $415.6 million. Same store sales for the London-based company for the quarter, which ended Nov. 2, rose 4.8%. Operating profit remained unchanged, however, at $10.7 million.

For the nine-month period, total sales rose 7% over the same period last year to more than $1.4 billion. Same store sales were up 6.3%. Operating profit was up 11.2%, to $94.9 million.

For Sterling Inc., the Akron, Ohio-based U.S. division of Signet, provides 71% of the Group’s annual revenues. Its third quarter sales were up 3%, to almost $279.7 million. Same store sales went up 4.9% and operating profit advanced 7% to $6.7 million. Sterling officials attributed the gains to positive responses by consumers to new marketing and merchandising programs.

For the nine-month period, Sterling’s sales grew 6.4% to $1.023 billion. Same store sales rose 6.2%, while operating profit grew 7.6%, to almost $83.9 million. Signet’s U.S. business “again outperformed its main competition and gained market share,” said Terry Burman, Signet’s chief executive officer.

Signet operates some 1,660 specialty retail jewelry stores, including 1,049 in the United States (where Sterling trades under the name Kay Jewelers, Jared The Galleria of Jewelry” and several regional names) and 611 in the United Kingdom (where the group trades under the names H. Samuel, Ernest Jones, and Leslie Davis.)