Signet Jewelers Ltd., parent of Akron-headquartered Sterling Jewelers, said Thursday that net income was up 11.3 percent for the first quarter, with healthy sales increases at the Kay and Jared jewelry store chains.
Earnings were $1.13 per share, beating analysts’ expectations.
Signet is the largest operator of jewelry stores in the United States and the United Kingdom. Company CEO Mike Barnes said in a prepared statement that Signet’s U.S. division “led our performance, generating same-store sales increases of 10.2 percent at Kay and 6.0 percent at Jared.”
Same-store sales are those at stores open at least a year.
Signet [NYSE: SIG], which earlier this year reported employing more than 2,000 in the Akron area, is one of Summit County’s 10 largest employers.
Barnes said the first quarter’s strong sales — including those for Valentine’s Day and during the run-up to Mother’s Day — were driven by product offerings, “the continued effectiveness of our iconic advertising initiatives” and employees’ efforts.
The company has been spending more on advertising. Barnes noted in a conference call last quarter that the company launched eight TV ads for the all-important Christmas holiday season.
Net income for the three months that ended May 4 increased 11.3 percent to $91.8 million from $82.5 million. On a per-share basis, net income was $1.13, up from 96 cents for the year-ago first quarter. The Associated Press said analysts expected earnings of $1.11 per share.
Company revenue was up 10.4 percent to $993.6 million from $900 million in the first quarter a year ago. Analysts expected revenue of $1.02 billion, the Associated Press said.
Online sales in the U.S. division soared, increasing 48 percent to $25.6 million, compared to $17.3 million in the first quarter a year ago.
For the second quarter, Signet forecasts net income of 79 cents to 84 cents per share, or 85 cents to 90 cents per share excluding costs related to its purchase of Ultra.
Last year, Signet bought Ultra Stores Inc. of Chicago, which has stores mostly in outlet malls.
The company said the Ultra purchase, along with the shift of Mother’s Day sales this year partly into the first quarter, are expected to hurt second-quarter sales and earnings. Sterling said it continues to expect Ultra to “contribute positively” to results by the fourth quarter.
For the full fiscal year, Signet said it expects capital expenditures in the range of $180 million to $195 million, which includes costs related to the opening of 70 to 80 Jared stores, up from the earlier planned 65 to 75 stores; store remodels; digital and information technology infrastructure; and Ultra capital spending of about $14 million. That represents a reduction from the previously expected amount of $18 million.
Signet’s Sterling, based on Ghent Road in Akron, operates more than 1,300 stores nationwide.
Katie Byard can be reached at 330-996-3781 or email@example.com.