Signet to axe 99 jobs at UK headquarters

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Signet is set to axe 99 jobs at its headquarters in Birmingham, according to a report in the Birmingham Mail.

Staff at the jewellery retail group’s head office are currently in the process of a 30-day consultation period at the end of which decisions will be made as to which staff will lose their jobs.

A spokesperson for Signet said in a statement: “Signet is part way through a three-year programme aimed at improving the profitability of its UK business. As part of this, and as on-going good business practice, Signet is currently undertaking a comprehensive review of its UK head office function with a view to ensuring the business is in the right shape for the future.”

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In May Signet, which operates the H Samuel, Ernest Jones and Leslie Davis stores, released Q1 results that showed the UK division of the company, which also operates in the US, accrued losses of US$3 million (£1.9m), up on last year’s Q1 loss of US$200,000 (£127,630). Operating margin decreased by 190 basis points to 2%.

UK like-for-like sales crept up 1.2% on sales of US$148.5 million (£94.8m) in the period, the 13 weeks to April 28. During that time H Samuel outperformed sister chain Ernest Jones with a like-for-like sales uplift of 1.8% in Q1 compared with a 0.6% rise at Ernest Jones.

Gross margin in the UK division was US$1.8 million (£1.1m), lower than the first quarter of fiscal 2012. The company said that this was primarily due to unfavourable foreign currency impact and a decline in gross merchandise margin of 170 basis points attributed to the level of promotional activity and merchandise mix, which were partially offset by lower store occupancy and store operating expenses.

 

 

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