Sales during the all-important holiday retail season at Signet Jewelers Ltd. stores open at least a year — including Kay Jewelers and the Jared chain — were up 5 percent.
Nevertheless, the company whose U.S. division is Sterling Jewelers Inc. in Akron, said Thursday it was lowering its per-share forecast for the fourth quarter and fiscal year that end Feb. 1. Signet said it now expects earnings per share in the range of $2.12 to $2.16 for the fourth quarter. Earlier, Signet predicted $2.30 to $2.40 per share.
For the full fiscal year, Signet now expects earnings per share in the range of $4.51 to $4.55.
Thursday, shares closed at $73.63, down $6.04, or 7.6 percent. Shares are up 23.7 percent including reinvested dividends from a year ago.
Mike Barnes, Signet’s CEO, said in prepared remarks that discounting of jewelry in a “highly promotional environment,” among other factors, will result in lower than expected margins and profit.
Signet — the largest jewelry store operator in the United States and the United Kingdom — and other jewelers routinely report sales in January for the holiday season. Signet is the first major jewelry retailer to reveal holiday sales for the last eight weeks of 2013. Sterling, headquartered on Ghent Road, operates the nationwide Kay and Jared chains, as well as regional stores, and generates the vast majority of sales for Signet. Also Thursday, Signet declared a fourth-quarter dividend of 15 cents a share, payable Feb. 27 to shareholders of record Jan. 31.
Concerning Signet same-store sales — for stores open at least 12 months — fourth-quarter revenues are expected to be within the company’s expectations.
Sales in the United States during the holiday season were “highlighted by a strong November and a strong finish to December,” Barnes said in the prepared statement.
Signet said overall sales in the United States and the United Kingdom — including those at stores open fewer than 12 months — during the eight-week holiday season ended Dec. 28 totaled $1.28 billion, up 7.7 percent compared to the eight weeks ended Dec. 29, 2012.
Online sales increased by 27.2 percent. This increase was comprised of a 24.8 percent increase in the U.S. division and a 37.5 percent increase in Signet’s United Kingdom division.
Katie Byard can be reached at 330-996-3781 or email@example.com.