Signet’s UK retail outlets, H.Samuel and Ernest Jones, have both suffered a slump in sales of almost 4% for the nine weeks ending December 30, 2017.
During the key Christmas trading period, sales at H.Samuel dropped year-on-year by 3.9%, while turnover at Ernest Jones turnover was down by the same 3.9%.
Both chains had the same number of stores this year compared to Christmas 2016.
After accounting for the strengthening of the dollar against sterling over the comparative period, sales at H.Samuel were down 10.2% to $95.3 million (£70.6m). Ernest Jones was also down by 10.2% to $81.8 million (£60.1).
Signet says the decline in UK sales was principally due to bridal and diamond fashion jewellery, and partially offset by higher sales in select prestige watch brands and strength in e-commerce.
Globally, Signet’s total sales decreased by 3.1% to $1,881.7 million (£1,396m). Sales declines were primarily driven by weakness in the Sterling division, impacted predominantly by the credit outsourcing transition which accounted for approximately two-thirds of the decrease.
Signet’s eCommerce sales were $210.5 million (£156.1m), up 47.7%, compared to the same period last year. eCommerce sales growth was led by the Sterling division, reflecting the R2Net acquisition and the successful
implementation of several enhancements to its OmniChannel platforms, search efficacy, functionality, and digital and social media marketing. Investments in search engine optimization led to a 48% increase in page-1 keyword search results and drove a nearly 20% increase in traffic to Sterling banners.