Ernest Jones and H. Samuel report 3.8% drop in sales in Christmas quarter

Ernest Jones store in the Westfield Derby centre.Ernest Jones store in the Westfield Derby centre.

Signet Jewelers, the US-based parent group of H. Samuel and Ernest Jones, has reported a 3.8% drop in same-store sales for the fourth quarter of 2017 for its UK division.

H. Samuel year-on-year sales fell 4.9% at a constant exchange rate in Q4 to $119.7m (£98m). Ernest Jones dropped by 1.5% to $107.9m (£88.7m).

The same store sales decline was driven principally by lower sales in fashion jewellery, fashion watches, and gifts. The decline was partially offset by stronger sales of prestige watches and bridal jewellery, the company said.

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Average transaction values increased 8.0% but the number of transactions decreased 11.8%.

Gross margin dollars in the UK Jewelry division decreased by $26.6 million (£21.3m). The gross margin rate decreased 220 basis points driven principally by deleverage on lower sales and an increase in the cost of promotional activity.

The disappointing fourth quarter was a sour end to the financial year, and dragged UK growth to +0.9% at exchange rate-adjusted values.

Turnover for the whole of 2016 was $647.1 million £517.7 at today’s exchange rate.

The group ended the year with 304 H. Samuel stores and 204 Ernest Jones.

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