Signet Reports Sales Up, Profit Down

Signet Group plc said Wednesday that its earnings declined for the fiscal year, ended Feb. 2.

The world’s biggest specialty jewelry retailer said that its same-store sales fell 0.7 percent year-over-year. Total sales for the period were $3.67 billion up 3 percent year-over-year.

However, profit before taxes fell 16.8 percent to $333.5 million for the London-based retail chain.

Operating profit in the U.S., where the group makes 74 percent of its sales, fell 19.7 percent to $262.2 million, while UK operating profit increased 1.6 percent to $105.1 million.

Same-store sales fell in the U.S. by 1.7 percent while UK same-store sales were up 2 percent, year-over-year.

“2007/08 was a very demanding year for the group, with a particularly difficult fourth quarter,” said Terry Burman, Signet Group chief executive. “While the U.S. business saw an unprecedented weakening in sales over Christmas, and faced the impact of commodity cost increases, it continued to be a leader in setting industry operating standards. In a tough U.K. retail marketplace, like for like sales were ahead and operating margins, cash flow, and return on capital remained strong.”