Same store sales at Ernest Jones and H.Samuel were down by 7% to $113.9 million (£95m) in the 13 week period ending August 3.
At constant exchange rates for the dollar-based accounts, sales were down by 8.9% due to the weakness of the pound compared to a year earlier.
Average transaction values were flat across both chains and unit sales declined across all categories and continued to reflect a difficult operating environment in the UK, a financial report from parent company Signet Jewelers says.
The UK chains lost $1 million in the quarter, an improvement over the $1.9 million lost in the same period last year, although last year there was a restructuring charge related to inventory that the company discontinued as part of its transformation plan of $63.2 million. This inventory-related charge was dramatically lower at $4.4 million in the most recent figures.
There have been four store closures for Ernest Jones in the past 12 months, and a further four closures for H.Samuel.
In a forward-looking statement, the group said it expects global same store sales to show a further decline of between 1-2% in the coming year, but did not make a comment on the UK market specifically.
Signet CEO, Virginia C. Drosos, comments: “We continue to gain traction on our transformation initiatives and delivered second quarter results that exceeded our same store sales, non-GAAP operating profit, and non-GAAP earnings per share expectations. Our continuing cost control and disciplined inventory management also led to improved adjusted free cash flow generation in both the second quarter as well as year to date. We remain on track to deliver our full year non-GAAP financial guidance.
“As we enter the competitive holiday season, we believe we are positioned to execute our product strategy by launching additional flagship brands, delivering relevant on-trend new merchandise and offering a highly competitive assortment for value-oriented shoppers. We remain focused on delivering our Path to Brilliance transformation designed to drive sustainable growth and create value for our shareholders over the long-term.”
Signet UK has appointed a new managing director for the UK. Read all about it HERE.