Signet’s Q1 Same-Store Sales Fall 14%, Plans to Close 150 Stores

FinancialsJun 08, 2023

Signet’s Q1 Same-Store Sales Fall 14%, Plans to Close 150 Stores

The jewelry giant noted lower-than-expected Mother’s Day sales and increasing macroeconomic pressures.

Lab-grown diamond jewelry from Zales’ rental service
A selection of lab-grown diamond jewelry from the Zales x Rocksbox Fine Jewelry Rental service, two banners owned by Signet Jewelers.
Akron, Ohio—Signet Jewelers Ltd. reported declining sales in the first quarter, lowering its guidance for the fiscal year ahead amid “increasing macroeconomic pressures.”

The jewelry giant, which is the parent company of several large jewelry store chains including Zales, Jared, and Kay Jewelers, also noted lower-than-expected Mother’s Day sales.

“Our Signet team delivered our revenue and bottom-line commitments in Q1 despite macroeconomic headwinds that worsened late in the quarter,” Signet Jewelers CEO Virginia C. Drosos said in a company press release.

From bridal sales to store closures, here are five things to know about its recent earnings report, released Thursday morning.

First-quarter sales sank as consumers faced increased pressures.

For the quarter ending April 29, Signet’s sales totaled $1.7 billion, down 9 percent year-over-year.

Same-store sales fell 14 percent.

On an earnings call Thursday morning, Drosos noted that, “lower tax refunds, economic concerns triggered by regional bank failures, and continued inflation led to a weakening trend in spending across the jewelry industry.”

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

Signet’s first-quarter sales in the region totaled $1.56 billion, down 8 percent year-over-year.

Same-store sales were down 14 percent.

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

International sales totaled $93 million, down 16 percent year-over-year (9 percent on a constant currency basis). Same-store sales were down 9 percent in the quarter.

Chief Financial, Strategy and Services Officer Joan Hilson said the company is increasing its cost savings target to $225 million to $250 million, more than double its initial goal of $100 million.

As part of these efforts, the retailer, which operates more than 2,700 stores, announced during the call plans to close 150 stores over the next 12 months, focusing on those that have not met productivity goals.

The company also will leverage artificial intelligence, improve its vertical integration, and adjust its flexible employee hours, said Hilson.

Bridal sales struggle while fashion jewelry remains resilient.

“In line with our predictions, there were fewer engagements in the quarter resulting from COVID’s disruption of dating three years ago,” said Drosos.

Signet’s data shows engagements typically occur within three years of a couple dating, so recovery is expected to begin later in fiscal 2024 and a rebound in fiscal 2025.

Despite the macroenvironment, Signet said it is still growing market share in the bridal category.

In fashion jewelry, the company noted it continues to see flagging sales at lower price points, as it has for the past year.

While sales of jewelry priced at $5,000 and above remain strong, it noted degradation in the $1,000-$5,000 range, a pattern of erosion it said has continued into the second quarter.

“Our intentional focus on building out our fashion category over the last three years, which has grown 36 percent in that time to become a bigger portion of our mix, has positioned us to gain market share and is having the positive impact we designed for in the current environment,” said Drosos.

 Related stories will be right here … 

There were fewer engagements in the quarter, but data shows that trend may change.

Drosos highlighted the value of Signet’s digital and data analytics capabilities, especially in the bridal market.

The company identified and tracked a proprietary list of 45 milestones that trace a couple’s journey through four major relationship stages: leading, exclusivity, committed, and engagement.

“What our data has shown is that once couples experience at least 27 of these milestones, it becomes highly likely that they will move to engagement,” said Drosos.

She noted traveling together was a top milestone for couples later in their relationship journey, highlighting the rise in TikTok searches for “couple’s vacations.”

The services category was a “standout.”

The company has been focused on growing its services revenue in recent quarters, an effort that has paid off.

Services revenue was up 5 percent, said Hilson, outperforming merchandise in the quarter.

“This is a clear competitive advantage for us in the jewelry industry given our scale and skilled network of jewelers,” she said.

Signet’s services include Rocksbox, the jewelry subscription business it acquired in 2021, as well as appraisals at select Kay Jewelers stores; a new insurance program at Jared, Kay and Zales; and the continued rollout of its Vault Rewards customer loyalty program.

The program now allows customers to enroll online, leading to a 50 percent increase in members in the quarter.

Loyalty members make more frequent purchases, said Drosos, and spend 20 percent more than non-members.

A key driver of growth in the category was its extended service agreements.

Signet lowered its guidance for the fiscal year ahead.

For fiscal 2024, Signet forecasts sales of $7.1 billion to $7.3 billion, revised down from its prior guidance of $7.67 billion to $7.84 billion.

In the second quarter, the company expects sales between $1.53 billion to $1.58 billion.

“Our updated fiscal 2024 guidance reflects a recent deceleration of trends that have persisted into the second quarter, including a softer than expected Mother’s Day, increasing macro-economic pressures on consumers at more price points, and deeper competitive discounting,” Hilson said in a press release.

Signet said annual U.S. jewelry industry revenue is expected to be down more than its previous forecast of a mid-single-digit decline, adding that its guidance accounts for market share gains against the industry’s performance range.

“We built our fortressed balance sheet to strategically invest during periods of disruption. Our growing capabilities enable Signet to navigate this challenging macro environment, position us for success when the bridal recovery begins, and maintain strong margins while continuing to return capital to shareholders,” said Hilson in a statement.

“As we look to the balance of the year, we’re leaning in to leverage our differentiated capabilities, widen our competitive advantages, and drive market share gains,” said Drosos in a press release.

“We are proactively addressing the dynamic retail climate, leveraging our team’s agility and flexible operating model to raise our cost savings target by up to $150 million while maintaining strategic investments.”

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