U.S. and E-Commerce Businesses Fuel 10.4% Jump in Signet’s Q1 Sales

Signet Jewelers Ltd., the largest specialty retail jeweler in the U.S. and the U.K., said first quarter sales increased 10.4% year-over-year to $993.6 million. Same store sales increased 6.4% compared to a rise of 1.2% for the same period in the previous year. E-Commerce sales rose 40.7% to $31.1 million.

Operating income increased 10.4% to $142.8 million and diluted earnings per share rose 17% to $1.13 for the company that owns the Kay, Jared and Ultra jewelry retail chains in the U.S. and the H.Samuel and Ernest Jones jewelry retail chains in the U.K.

The U.S. division, which accounts for approximately 86 percent of total company sales, again was the driver in the strong performance. Total U.S. sales increased 14.3% to $858.6 million. Same store sales increased 8.1% compared to an increase of 1.2% for the period. The increases were driven by broad based strength across all merchandise categories in their Kay and Jared jewelry chains, as well as its recent acquisition of the Ultra jewelry store chain. E-Commerce sales increased 48% to $25.6 million.

“We were very pleased with our results throughout the quarter, including Valentine’s Day and the run up to Mother’s Day,” said Mike Barnes, Signet CEO.

The UK division, which accounts for approximately 14 percent of total company sales, reported weak results. Total sales fell 9.1% to $135. Same store sales fell 2.3% compared to an increase of 1.2% in the first quarter Fiscal 2013. The company said the sales decline was due to a same store sales decrease of $3.1 million primarily in H.Samuel, the impact of closed stores of $4.8 million, and currency fluctuation of $5.6 million. In Ernest Jones, the number of transactions increased and there was strength in the bridal business and watches (excluding Rolex, which is being offered in fewer stores in the UK). In H.Samuel, the number of transactions declined, resulting in lower sales across most merchandise categories. E-Commerce was a bright spot, increasing 14.5% to $5.5 million.

In its guidance, Signet says it expects the shift of Mother’s Day sales this year partly into the first quarter to impact second quarter sales and earnings performance. In addition, integration costs and the seasonality of the company’s newly acquired Ultra Stores are expected to dilute profits. The company expects Ultra to be a positive contributor to the company’s bottom line by the fourth quarter.

The company also said it plans to open 70 to 80 Kay and Jared stores by the end of the fiscal year.

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