Signet’s First Quarter Sales Up 10.9%

Signet Group plc, the world’s largest specialty retail jeweler, on Thursday reported that first quarter sales were up 10.9 percent on a reported basis to $814.3 million when compared with the same period of the prior year. At constant exchange rates the increase was 8.1 percent, due to the weakening of the U.S. dollar. Same-store sales for the period rose 3.1 percent in the quarter, ended May 5.

In the U.S., which accounts for 77.6 percent of total sales for the London-based retailer, sales increased 10.1 percent to $632.3 million for the quarter. Same-store sales rose 3.2 percent for the period. The Group operates in the U.S. under Kay Jewelers, Jared The Galleria Of Jewelry, and under a number of regional names.

The company added that underlying growth in U.S. same-store sales in the quarter is estimated to have been 1.9 percent after adjusting for the adverse impact of weather disruption over Valentine’s Day and the benefit from the timing of a promotional event at the start of the quarter.

In the U.K., which accounts for 22.4 percent of total sales for the Group, sales grew 13.9 percent in a reported basis, and 1.7 percent at constant exchange rates. Same-store sales rose 2.6 percent (H.Samuel up 1.9 percent and Ernest Jones up 3.5 percent).

“U.S. like for like sales on an underlying basis were up 1.9 percent, reflecting a trading environment in the U.S. that appears to have weakened somewhat,” Terry Burman, Signet chief executive, commented. “In the U.K., like for like sales of 2.6 percent strengthened a little from the fourth quarter, particularly in Ernest Jones.”

Signet operates approximately 1,910 specialty retail jewelry stores, including 1,332 stores in the U.S. and 578 stores in the U.K.