|Kay Jewelers, one of the U.S. brands|
owned by Signet.
Strong sales in the U.S. overcame a decline in sales for the company’s U.K. stores. Consolidated e-commerce sales increased by 39 percent, comprised of a 49 percent increase in the U.S. and an 8 percent increase in the U.K. Holiday sales for 2012 did not quite reach the level of growth that the jeweler saw in 2011, which was 7.5 percent.
“We saw particularly strong performance in the weeks and days leading up to Christmas,” said Mike Barnes, Signet CEO. “Business trends continue to be encouraging in the U.S. and have improved in the U.K. after the holiday season.”
The Bermuda-based jewelry retailer owns and operates Kay Jewelers; Jared, the Galleria of Jewelry; and a number of regional brands in the U.S. and H.Samuel and Ernest Jones jewelers in the U.K.
The company’s U.S. division saw a year-over-year sales increase of 9.9 percent to just over $1 billion, compared to an increase of 9.2 percent in the comparable nine weeks. Same store sales for the period increased 4.7 percent led by both Kay and Jared, compared to an increase of 9.2 percent in the comparable nine weeks. The total sales figure for 2012 includes $37 million from the Chicago-based Ultra Stores retail chain, which Signet acquired in October.
“In the U.S. we experienced broad based strength across our merchandise offerings led by our initiatives in bridal, branded and exclusive merchandise, colored diamonds, fashion jewelry and watches,” Barnes said.
Holiday sales in the company’s U.K. division fell by 5 percent to $203.4 million, compared to an increase of 0.9 percent in the comparable nine weeks. Same store sales in the U.K. were down 2.6 percent compared to an increase of 1.8 percent in the comparable nine weeks.
“In the UK watches and branded jewelry were the strongest performers,” Barnes said.
In its outlook, Signet said diluted earnings per share for the fourth quarter are projected at $2.05 to $2.10. Diluted earnings per share for the 53 weeks ending Feb. 2, 2013, are projected at $4.28 to $4.33.
Capital spending for Fiscal 2013 is anticipated to be $138 million to $142 million reflecting current estimates of project timing. In addition to the Ultra Stores, Inc acquisition. Signet says it anticipates 48 new US-based stores for the year.
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