Sales up 3.2% at Ernest Jones and H Samuel in Q4

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Signet Group, owner of UK high street jewellery chains Ernest Jones, H Samuel and Leslie Davis, has released its figures for Q4 and for the 52 weeks of fiscal 2012, ended January 28, with like-for-like sales up 9% and an income before taxes of $502.1 million (£317.1 million), an overall increase of 67%.

In fiscal 2012, Signet’s total sales were $3.74 billion (£2.36 billion) up $311.8 million (£196.9 million) or 9.1%, compared to an increase of 5% in fiscal 2011, while its net operating income increased to $507.4 million (£320.4 million), up 36.2% compared to fiscal 2011.

In the US, Signet’s net operating income was $478.0 million, while its UK division’s net operating income was $56.1 million (£35.4 million) a decrease of $0.9 million or 1.6%.

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Signet’s eCommerce sales were $92.3 million (£58.2 million), up 36.5% compared to fiscal 2011.

The group’s chief executive officer Mike Barnes said: “Fiscal 2012 was another outstanding year for Signet, with same store sales up 9.0% and earnings per share increasing 60.8%.

“I would like to thank all members of the Signet team for their contribution to this great result. Our long term competitive strengths continued to drive the superior performance achieved during the year.

“Creating an outstanding customer experience, the strength of our merchandise, our continued advertising investment in support of our store concepts and merchandise brands and, in the US, our customer finance programs, all work together to effectively support our customers’ jewellery purchases.”

Barnes added that Signet was pleased withits Valentine’s day sales and that it is “well positioned” for fiscal 2013. In the year ahead the company will focus on its customer service and offering a “differentiated and compelling assortment of brands”.

For Q4 of fiscal 2012, ended January 28, the group’s same-store sales were up 6.9%, with income before taxes of $242.4 million (£153.1 million), up 51.9% compared to the same period in 2011.

Signet’s UK results

Q4
Sales in the UK in Q4 totalled $263.7 million (£166.6 million), up 19.5%, with the group describing the impact of higher commodity costs, an increase in the UK value added tax rate and promotional activity in the UK being offset by price increases in-store.

H Samuel sales totalled $149.8 million in Q4, while Ernest Jones and Leslie Davie sales were a combined £113.9 million.

Fiscal 2012
With a view to fiscal 2012, same store sales in the UK increased 0.9% compared to a decline of 1.4% in fiscal 2011. Branded jewellery, fashion watches and the bridal category, including gold rings, were key drivers of the sales increase.

Sales in the UK were driven last year by increased sales of higher priced merchandise due to merchandising initiatives and price increases, which were offset partially by lower unit sales volume.

The results by store show that H Samuel sales totalled $389 million (£245.7 million), while Ernest Jones and Leslie Davis produced a combined $326.1 million (£205.9 million). The UK division accounted for a total 3.2% of Signet Group’s entire fiscal 2012 sales.

Store closures totalled nine, while openings totalled four, bringing Signet’s presence in the UK to 535 stores as of January 28 2012.

Outlook
The results release from Signet said: “The UK economic environment is not projected to show any short-term improvement, however, we plan to make investments to support and grow the business. Both the US and the UK economies could be adversely impacted by developments in the eurozone.

“Signet’s goal in fiscal 2013 is to deliver record results building on its recent performance, while making strategic investments necessary for future growth.”

Signet plans to invest between $145 million – $165 million (£91 million – £104 million) of capital in new stores and enhancing infrastructure to drive future growth.

 

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