Signet Third Quarter Sales Down 7.3%

Signet Jewelers Ltd. reported that same store sales in the third quarter declined by 6.6 percent. Total sales were down 7.3 percent to $629.4 million for the 13-week period ended Nov. 1. At constant exchange rates, sales fell by 4.2 percent.

In the U.S., which accounted for 74.2 percent of total sales for the company in the third quarter, same store sales dropped 7.9 percent. Total sales for the period fell 4.3 percent to $467.2 million. The company operates under Kay Jewelers, Jared The Galleria Of Jewelry, and under a number of regional names in the U.S.

In the U.K., which accounted for 25.8 percent of total sales for the company in the third quarter, same-store declined 2.4 percent. Total sales for the period fell 14.9 percent to 162.2 million. The company operates under H.Samuel, Ernest Jones, and Leslie Davis in the U.K.

For 2008 to date, Group same store sales declined by 4.3 percent. Total sales were down by 2.6 percent on a reported basis to $2.2 billion for the 39-week period, ended Nov. 1. At constant exchange rates, total sales for the period decrease of 1.6%.

In the U.S., which accounted for 75.4 percent of total sales for the company, same store were down 6.6 percent. Total sales for the period fell 1.8 percent to $1.67 billion.

In the U.K., which accounted for 24.6 percent of total sales, same store sales declined 6 percent. Total sales for the period fell 5 percent to $546.7 million.

“In the US, same store sales for the first six weeks of the quarter were consistent with the first half. However the last seven weeks showed a marked deterioration reflecting heightened consumer uncertainty, and same store sales were down by about 11 percent,” said Terry Burman, Group chief executive.

“The UK division continued to outperform the non-food retail sector on a same store sales basis. Until mid-October, the performance was broadly similar to that reported by the business for the second quarter but in the last three weeks same store sales declined by some 8 percent,” Burman added.

“In a very difficult trading environment on both sides of the Atlantic, we have a strong business which we continue to manage cautiously,” he continued. “Our focus is on maximizing gross margin dollars, a tight control of costs and inventory, as well as maintaining a strong balance sheet.”

Signet operates approximately 1,991 specialty retail jewelry stores, including 1,431 stores in the U.S. and 560 stores in the UK.