Signet Anticipates Solid Holiday Season, Raises Guidance

FinancialsDec 06, 2022

Signet Anticipates Solid Holiday Season, Raises Guidance

The jewelry giant posted a decline in same-store sales in the third quarter but is gearing up for a season of growth.

Pictured here is jewelry from the “Jared Atelier” collection by Signet Jewelers-owned banner Jared, featuring elevated, limited-edition pieces. Signet’s third-quarter sales totaled $1.6 billion, up 3 percent year-over-year.
Akron, Ohio—Signet Jewelers Ltd. posted muted overall growth and declining same-store sales in the third quarter as it competed with last year’s strong Q3.

However, the jewelry giant, which is the parent company of several large jewelry store chains including Zales, Jared and Kay Jewelers, has raised its fiscal guidance in anticipation of a merry holiday season.

“Our strong third-quarter results exceeded guidance and evidence why we believe Signet is uniquely positioned to deliver consistent market share growth and value creation,” CEO Virginia C. Drosos said in a press release on the company’s Q3 results.

Here are five things to know about its recent earnings report, released Tuesday morning.

Signet had a quiet third quarter.

For the quarter ending Oct. 29, Signet’s sales totaled $1.6 billion, up 3 percent year-over-year against “unusually heightened” sales in last year’s third quarter, which the company attributed to government stimulus programs and its marketing initiatives.

Sales growth in the third quarter was driven by the addition of Blue Nile and Diamonds Direct to its portfolio, said Signet.

Sales were up 33 percent compared with pre-pandemic fiscal 2020.

Same-store sales in the third quarter fell 8 percent year-over-year.

Overall e-commerce sales totaled $331.1 million, up 21 percent year-over-year, as per its 10-Q filing.

In North America, Signet’s banners include Zales and Kay Jewelers as well as Peoples in Canada.

Signet’s third-quarter sales in the region totaled $1.5 billion, up 5 percent year-over-year and up 37 percent compared with pre-pandemic fiscal 2020.

Same-store sales were down 8 percent, which Signet attributed to a higher average transaction value but a lower number of transactions.

E-commerce sales in the region totaled $315.6 million, up 25 percent year-over-year.

Signet’s international banners include Ernest Jones and H. Samuels.

International sales totaled $95.3 million, down 21 percent year over-year and down 10 percent compared with fiscal 2020.

Same-store sales were down 7 percent year-over-year, also due to a higher average transaction value but a lower number of transactions.

“[The results] punctuate that Signet is not a COVID story. We’re successfully executing on a multi-year turnaround of this company, which also led to outperformance on the bottom line,” said Drosos on an earnings call Tuesday morning.

Ahead of the holidays, Signet has upped its full-year guidance.

Signet raised its fiscal outlook, which now includes the recently acquired Blue Nile, as it gears up for a strong holiday season.

“Black Friday weekend was encouraging and met our expectations with our biggest Cyber Monday in our history,” Chief Financial Officer Joan Hilson said on the call.

The company expects fiscal year sales to be in the range of $7.70 billion to $7.84 billion, up from its prior guidance of $7.60 billion to $7.70 billion, but still lower than its initial guidance of $8.03 billion to $8.25 billion.

For the fourth quarter, the company forecasts sales to be in the range of $2.59 billion to $2.66 billion.

Hilson added, “We are seeing shifts in consumer purchasing patterns that indicate many consumers are waiting until later in the season to complete their shopping.”

Signet noted that its revised outlook accounts for a certain level of consumer pressure, including inflation, as well as the impact of the Blue Nile acquisition and the unfavorable impact of foreign currency.

The more optimistic outlook does not account for the potential worsening of the macroeconomic environment or a significant disruption in the supply chain.

“Signet continues to anticipate some shift of consumer discretionary spending away from the jewelry category reflecting pent-up demand for experience-oriented categories,” said the company.

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Signet’s bridal sales are on the rise while services revenue soars.

This year was dubbed “the year of the wedding,” with 2.5 million weddings expected to take place in the United States in 2022, and Signet was prepared to make the most of that.

The company looked to not only serve the bride on her special day, but also to capitalize on pre-wedding events, which it sees as a $1.9 billion opportunity in the U.S.

It also launched Bridal by Rocksbox, a subscription box tailored specifically to brides and their wedding parties.

In the third quarter, sales in its bridal category were up 8 percent year-over-year to $2.39 billion.

Drosos noted that 35 percent of new customers in Q3 made their first purchase at a Signet-owned store in the bridal category.

About one-third of bridal customers returned to make a non-bridal purchase, a 40 percent higher repurchase rate than non-bridal customers.

The company has also been focused on growing its services revenue.

Its services, which boost in-store traffic, include Rocksbox, the jewelry subscription business Signet acquired last spring.

It’s also begun offering new services, like appraisals at select Kay Jewelers stores, a new insurance program at Jared, Kay and Zales, and the continued rollout of its Vault Rewards program.

In its first year, more than 1 million customers signed up for the Vault Rewards program, with loyalty members spending 40 percent more on average than non-loyalty customers.

Services revenue climbed 13 percent year-over-year to $504.4 million.

As for its other categories, fashion jewelry sales slipped 5 percent while watch sales were flat.

“We’re seeing spending at higher price points in all of our categories,” noted Drosos.

Signet is well-stocked and well-staffed.

Signet is touting its inventory management skills, noting its current stock features newness while also having the lowest clearance in recent years.

“We are entering this holiday season with the healthiest and most consumer-inspired inventory in our history—down 2 percent despite tiering up our Accessible Luxury offering and with clearance at the lowest levels since our transformation began, excluding acquisitions,” said Hilson.

“Today, nearly all of our inventory is immediately available to customers whenever, wherever and however they choose to browse, shop and buy with us, which is driving inventory turns nearly double pre-transformation levels.”

The company also highlighted its level of staff retention ahead of the holidays.

At Kay, staff turnover is down 17 percent year-over-year, leading to more experienced salespeople on the floor, said Drosos.

Consultants with at least two years of experience in Signet-owned stores sell two times more than those employed for six months or less, she added.

Signet is attracting new customers.

A goal of Signet’s recent Blue Nile acquisition was to reach a customer demographic that is younger, more affluent and ethnically diverse.

“We have acquired 22.5 million new customers over the past five years, driving revenue and market share growth, and these customers are younger, more affluent and highly diverse with meaningful lifetime purchasing power,” said Drosos.

These new customers are also more tech savvy and expect more shopping options, and so, Signet is upping its digital capabilities.

“No other jewelry company is as well positioned as Signet to meet these expectations,” said Drosos.

The company recently introduced social selling options, including the ability to text with a jewelry expert, and has seen a 15 times higher conversion rate compared with a standard e-commerce purchase.

The number of virtual appointments booked has more than doubled, said Drosos, with sales connected to these appointments up 150 percent.

Lenore Fedowis the associate editor, news at National Jeweler, covering the retail beat and the business side of jewelry.

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