Profits Up for Signet in the U.S. and U.K.

June 8, 2001

Profits Up for Signet in the U.S. and U.K.

Signet Group, the world's largest specialty retail jeweler, announced a 5.9% increase in profit before tax for the first quarter ended April 28 vs. the same period of 2000. Total sales rose 23.1%, while comparable-store sales were up 3.4%. The total sales reflect the acquisition of the Marks & Morgan chain.

Signet, which has stores in the U.S. and the United Kingdom, says its U.S. business remained strong, with sales rising 28.3%. At constant exchange rates, U.S. operating profit increased by 5.8% and sales by 17%.

"In the U.S., our business again demonstrated its fundamental strengths by outperforming the jewelry retail sector and gaining market share in a very difficult trading environment," says Group Chief Executive Terry Burman. February was the strongest month in the quarter for the U.S. stores.

Sales at the group's U.K. stores were up as well. Comparable-store sales increased 10.9%, and operating profit improved. "In the U.K., the increase was at the upper end of the retail sector's performance, and the division made a profit in what is normally a loss-making quarter," says Burman.

Signet operates 1,609 specialty retail jewelry stores. Its 1,007 U.S. stores include Kay Jewelers, Jared - The Galleria of Jewelry and a number of regional names. Signet operates 602 stores in the U.K. under the names H. Samuel, Ernest Jones and Leslie Davis.

- by Julia M. Duncan