U.S. sales offset a weak U.K. market for Signet

Signet Group plc saw a 3.3% increase in same-store sales for the second quarter, as a strong U.S. market offset a weak performance in the United Kingdom. The U.K.-based company reported total sales of $629.4 million, a 6.4% increase when compared to the same period for 2004.

In the U.S., which accounted for 74% of total sales for the quarter, total sales for the 13-week period ended July 31, was $465.1 million, a 13.3% increase from the same period in 2004. Same-store sales rose 8.8% for the period.

The U.K., which accounted for 26% of total sales, was a much different story. Total sales amounted to $164.3 million, a 9.1% drop over the same period in the previous year. Same-store sales fell 9.3% for the period.

For the first six months of the year, ended July 31, the same pattern emerged with U.S. stores outperforming their counterparts in the U.K.

Total sales for the period were $1.3 billion, a 10.8% increase over the same period for the previous year. Same-store sales rose 3.3%.

In the U.S., which took in 74.6% of sales for the period, total sales amounted to $961.2 million, a 10.8% increase. Same store sales rose 7.9%.

In the U.K., which accounted for 25.4% of company sales, total sales were $327.4 million, a 7.1% decline over the previous year. Same-store sales for the period fell 7.8% for the period.

“The period illustrated the benefit the Group derived from its 70% U.S. / 30% U.K. sales mix,” said Terry Burman, group chief executive. “Our U.S. business performed particularly well which compensated for very difficult trading conditions in the U.K.”

Signet operates 1,781 specialty retail jewelry stores, including 1,183 stores in the U.S., where the company trades as “Kay Jewelers,” “Jared The Galleria Of Jewelry,” and under a number of regional names. Signet operates 598 stores in the U.K., where the company trades as “H.Samuel,” “Ernest Jones” and “Leslie Davis.”