Signet Jewellers Sales Down in 1st Fiscal Quarter

New York: Signet Jewellers said its first quarter total sales were $1,403.4 million, down $175.5 million or 11.1% compared with the first quarter last year, while same store sales decreased 11.5% compared to one year ago. The number of transactions decreased across all divisions due to declining brick and mortar store traffic. Merchandise categories and collections were broadly lower in the first quarter, but e-commerce and Piercing Pagoda total sales increased versus the prior year. Diamond fashion jewellery such as bracelets, earrings, and necklaces performed well relative to the performance of the overall merchandise portfolio. E-commerce sales in the first quarter were $81.0 million, up $0.9 million or 1.1% compared to $80.1 million in the first quarter last year.

Gross margin was $491.2 million or 35.0% of sales, down 300 basis points year-on-year. The declines were driven principally by lower sales leading to deleverage on fixed costs partially offset by higher gross merchandise margins in Sterling and Zale divisions.

Mark Light, Chief Executive Officer of Signet Jewellers, said, “As anticipated, we had a very slow start to the year as continued headwinds in the overall retail environment were exacerbated by a slowdown in jewellery spending and company specific challenges.”

“We continue to take decisive action to adapt our business to the current challenging retail environment and to position our company for long-term growth. Importantly, during the quarter, we made significant improvements to our online platforms and continued to accelerate our digital marketing efforts which resulted in a measurable sequential improvement in our e-commerce performance. We also made important changes to our organizational structure and strengthened our team to drive our 2020 Strategic Vision and deliver operational efficiencies. Based on the progress we achieved to date on our Customer-First OmniChannel strategy and with a number of initiatives underway, we expect Fiscal 2018 results to be within our previously-announced guidance range,” Signet Jewellers’ CEO added.