Signet’s UK retail outlets, H.Samuel and Ernest Jones, saw same store sales fall by 7.3% the nine weeks ending January 5, 2019.
Same store sales for H Samuel and Ernest Jones were down by 5.9% and 9% respectively. Ecommerce sales fell by 3.8% in the UK.
Total sales in the quarter amounted to $156.4 million (£120m) from the UK.
Signet continues to attribute its UK performance to declining sales in bridal jewellery, fashion jewellery and fashion watches, which was only partially offset by higher sales in prestige watches, the company says.
Globally, Signet’s total sales decreased by 1.3% to $1,835.4 million (£1,418m) and corporate guidance for the year ahead suggests there will be little growth.
Shares of Signet Jewelers are down by more than 24% at around $25 since the holiday-season sales results were announced. Their value has more than halved since the 52-week high of $71 in September last year.
Signet chief executive officer, Virginia Drosos, says of the results: “Our holiday season performance fell short of our expectations. Early improvements in refreshed merchandise assortment, digital marketing and omnichannel were more than offset by larger than expected declines in legacy product lines. In addition, the competitive promotional environment we saw early in the season intensified in December and, despite our increased promotional investments, we experienced reduced traffic during key December gifting weeks. Combined with higher than expected credit costs, these factors negatively impacted our profitability.”
“These holiday results reinforce the need to take even faster action to improve our financial and operational performance,” the CEO continues.”We will move decisively to improve profitability through aggressively optimising our cost structure and continuing to right-size our store base, as well as more effectively managing our inventory. As we enter the second year of our Path to Brilliance transformation, we expect to accelerate initiatives to enhance our product assortment, marketing personalisation and analytics, promotional effectiveness, service offerings, and e-commerce to deliver a more seamless and engaging omnichannel customer experience.”