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Leibish & Co
Tuesday, July 9, 2013
Signet Replaces CEO for UK Division
Signet Jewelers said Tuesday that Rob Anderson, CEO of Signet's UK division, will leave the company at the end of July. He will be replaced by Sebastian Hobbs who has been promoted to the new position of managing director for the UK division, effective immediately. Hobbs will report to Mike Barnes, Signet CEO.
The Bermuda-based company is the largest specialty retail jeweler in the US and UK with approximately 1,952 stores (1,449 in the US and 503 in the UK). Its retail chains in the US include Kay, Jared and Ultra Diamonds. In the UK, it owns and operates the H.Samuel and Ernest Jones jewelry chains.
“Seb has made important contributions to our UK division and we believe his experience in UK retailing and strategy make him a perfect fit for this role,” Barnes said.
Hobbs joined Signet's UK division as commercial director in March 2011. From November 2006 till March 2011, he was commercial director of Blacks Leisure Group. Prior to this, he was trading controller for WH Smith, a retail consultant for KPMG, and held management positions at Mothercare and British Home Stores.
Signet’s UK division has been struggling since the financial crisis. In its 2013 fiscal year, the division reported that sales fell 0.8 percent to $709.5 million. Same store sales increased 0.3 percent compared to an increase of 0.9 percent in Fiscal 2012. Sales performance was primarily attributed to lower traffic particularly in the fourth quarter.
By contrast, US division sales for the 2013 fiscal year increased 7.9 percent to $3.27 billion. Same store sales increased 4 percent for the year compared to an increase of 11.1 percent in Fiscal 2012.
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I am a freelance writer and editor who covers the luxury jewelry and watch industry for several publications, including Forbes.com the Financial Times, Hong Kong-based JewelleryNetAsiaand the Italian jewelry magazine, VO+. In addition, I have my own blog covering the jewelry and watch industry, Jewelry News Network.