Signet U.S. Same Store Sales Up 7%

May 6, 2005

Signet U.S. Same Store Sales Up 7%

Signet Group announced its first quarter 2005-06 sales performance for the 13-week period from Jan. 30 to April 30. "The U.S. division had a strong first quarter with [same store] sales up by 7.1%. While the business was up against particularly challenging prior year comparatives in February, it still performed well. This was followed by excellent sales in March and April," said Terry Burman, group chief executive.

Signet's full group same store sales rose by only 3.3% in the first quarter, due to poor performance at its United Kingdom stores, where same store sales were down 6.2%. Total sales for Signet were up by 6.9% at constant exchange rates but by only 4.9% on a reported basis, due to the further weakening of the U.S. dollar against the British pound sterling.

"The 3.3% increase in group [same store] sales was a solid result which illustrates the benefit of the company's geographic spread," said Burman. In the U.K., as previously indicated by Signet, the period has seen a marked deterioration in the general retail environment. Trading conditions continue to be very difficult, the company said.

Signet operates 1,769 speciality retail jewelry stores; these include 1,170 stores in the U.S., under the names of Kay Jewelers, Jared The Galleria of Jewelry and a number of regional names. Signet operates 599 stores in the U.K., where the group trades as H. Samuel, Ernest Jones and Leslie Davis.

by Peggy Jo Donahue

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