Holiday sales at Sterling Jewelers Inc. stores open at least a year — including Kay Jewelers and the Jared chain — were up 4.7 percent.
That increase comes despite a drop in U.S. consumer confidence last month.
The share price for Signet Jewelers Ltd. (NYSE: SIG), parent of Sterling, was up $4.87 on the news, closing Tuesday at $58.70. Shares, including dividends, are up 27 percent from a year ago.
Same-store sales for the parent company, Signet, were up 3.3 percent for the nine-week holiday season ended Dec. 29. .
Signet’s U.S. division, Sterling Jewelers, headquartered on Ghent Road in Akron, generates some 80 percent of Signet’s revenue.
Mike Barnes, CEO of Signet, said Tuesday in a news release, “Business trends continue to be encouraging in the U.S. and have improved in the U.K. after the holiday season.”
Barnes said the strong U.S. revenues were led by “our initiatives in bridal, branded and exclusive merchandise, colored diamonds, fashion jewelry and watches.”
Signet said sales for the holiday season rose 7.1 percent from last year to $1.24 billion and includes $37 million of recently acquired Ultra sales.
Also Tuesday, Signet raised the lower end of its per-share forecast for the fourth-quarter, or “holiday quarter,” by 10 cents a share. The company said earnings per share for the fourth-quarter ending Feb. 2 are now projected at $2.05 to $2.10.
Signet said capital spending for fiscal 2013 is expected to be $138 million to $142 million. The company said in addition to its acquisition of Ultra stores, it plans to open 48 new U.S. stores in the fiscal year.
In November, Signet completed its $57 million acquisition of Ultra Stores Inc. of Chicago, which has stores mostly in outlet malls.
Jewelers such as Signet routinely report sales in early January for the holiday season; November and December sales typically account for a large portion of jewelry retailers’ annual sales.
At Sterling, same-store sales for the nine weeks ended Dec. 29 were up 5.8 percent at Kay stores and 4.8 percent at Jared, compared to the 2011 nine-week period. Kay Stores tend to attract more price sensitive shoppers.
In Signet’s United Kingdom division, sales at stores open at least a year were down 2.6 percent for the nine weeks.
Also Tuesday, Signet declared a dividend of 12 cents a share for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2013, payable Feb. 27 to shareholders of record on Jan. 28.
Sterling Jewelers operates more than 1,300 stores nationwide, including Kay Jewelers and Jared, and employs more than 2,000 people in the Akron area. Signet touts that it is the largest jewelry store operator in the United States and the United Kingdom.
Katie Byard can be reached at 330-996-3781 or firstname.lastname@example.org.