Signet Jewelers’ Holiday E-commerce Sales Soar, Updates Guidance

Signet Jewelers is starting to regain some of its sparkle. 

Shares of the specialty jewelry retailer — parent to the Kay Jewelers, Zales, Jared, H.Samuel, Ernest Jones, Peoples Jewellers, Piercing Pagoda and brands — were up more than 7 percent Thursday after the company revealed strong e-commerce sales during the recent holiday season. The company updated its current quarter guidance as a result. 

Total sales for the nine-week period ending Jan. 2, were $1.8 billion, flat to the same time last year, while in-store traffic declined 4.1 percent, year-over-year. But there were still some bright spots. E-commerce sales were up more than 60 percent (57.5 percent in North America and nearly 93 percent internationally), compared with the same time last year, while total same store sales increased 5.6 percent. By category, same store sales of bridal and fashion accessories grew double digits. 

“Despite considerable macro hurdles, the Signet team delivered strong holiday performance an achievement that demonstrates the power of our multiyear Path to Brilliance transformation strategy and the agility, innovation and determination of our people,” Virginia C. Drosos, chief executive officer of the company said in a statement. “Our results were driven by new digital and fulfillment capabilities, increasingly personalized and insight-based marketing, banner portfolio differentiation and a strong merchandising strategy that included competitive newness and a strengthened core assortment all of which increased conversion, attracted new customers and increased market share. Our sales momentum coupled with strong profit generation are reflective of our team’s excellent execution and new ways to help our customers celebrate life and express love whenever and however they desire to shop.”

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Signet is now expecting fourth-quarter same-store sales to be up 4 percent to 5 percent, with total sales between $2.10 billion and $2.12 billion. In addition, the company said it was able to pay down the balance of its ABL revolving credit facility by the end of the holiday season. 

The retailer has closed 355 of its planned 380 stores for the fiscal year, as of Jan. 2. In June, the jeweler said it was planning on closing about 400 locations as it continued to invest in digital. The company now has 2,866 units in the store fleet. 

During WWD’s virtual summit in October, Jamie Singleton, president of the Kay Jewelers, Zales and Peoples divisions of Signet Jewelers Ltd., said jewelry shopping hasn’t slowed amid quarantine. In fact, consumers continued to purchase commemorative pieces for major life events, like birthdays, graduations and engagements — even if they had to celebrate online. 

Signet was quick to capitalize off the digital opportunities, offering virtual consultations and wedding ceremonies; clienteling services, such as phone calls from sales associates, online piercing follow-ups and virtual styling and shopping appointments; and increased curbside pick-ups. 

“Virtual selling at scale has propelled us forward digitally; it’s giving us a tremendous competitive advantage,” Singleton said at the time. “This aggressive and fast-paced digital transformation led us to some seriously exciting results.”

Shares of Signet Jewelers are up nearly 99 percent year-over-year.

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