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Signet Sales Decline in Weak US Market

December 5, 2023  |  Joshua Freedman
Zales store credit Signet Jewelers 1280

Signet Jewelers’ sales fell in its third fiscal quarter as the US economy weakened and engagement-ring demand underwent an expected downswing.

Revenue decreased 12% year on year to $1.39 billion for the three months that ended October 28, the retailer reported Tuesday. Same-store sales — those at branches open for at least a year — were also down 12%, while net profit slid 69% to $11.7 million.

“These declines were driven by the impact of heightened inflationary pressure on consumers’ discretionary spending and the decline in the bridal category, driven by lower engagements,” the jeweler said in a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

Sales dropped at all of the company’s store chains, the largest of which are Kay Jewelers, Zales and Jared. Overall bridal revenue slumped 15% to $664.6 million, while sales of fashion jewelry dipped 12% to $448.2 million. Signet’s services division — including jewelry rental and repairs — offset the declines with a 5% increase for a total of $169.9 million.

The results were in line with Signet’s expectations: The company had forecast sales of $1.36 billion to $1.41 billion for the period and projected that engagement-ring sales would only start recovering in the fourth fiscal quarter, which began October 29. A lull in dating during Covid-19 manifested as a drop in proposals this year, management had explained in the past.

The jeweler barely changed its sales outlook for the full year, predicting revenue of $7.07 billion to $7.27 billion — down only slightly from an earlier projection of $7.1 billion to $7.3 billion.

Bridal demand rallied in November as anticipated. Still, sales in the fourth fiscal quarter, which includes most of the holiday shopping season, will likely range from $2.4 billion to $2.6 billion, the company said — a decline of up to 10% from last year’s $2.67 billion.

“Trends through Black Friday weekend, including sequential improvement in engagement trends, are performing in line with guidance expectations for the fourth quarter,” said Signet CEO Virginia Drosos. “As we enter the holiday season, jewelry remains a top-of-mind gifting category for consumers in a value-conscious shopping environment.”

Total sales for the jeweler’s first three fiscal quarters fell 10% year on year to $4.67 billion. Net profit for the nine-month period, which ended October 28, rose 85% to $184.2 million because of charges in the previous year relating to litigation and a pension settlement.

Main image: A Zales store. (Signet Jewelers)

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