Signet’s Q2 Same-Store Sales Fall 12%

FinancialsAug 31, 2023

Signet’s Q2 Same-Store Sales Fall 12%

Macroeconomic pressures like inflation and a decline in the number of people popping the question took a toll on the jeweler.

Zales diamond bypass ring
A pear-shaped diamond bypass ring in 14-karat white gold from Signet Jewelers banner Zales. Signet Jewelers reported its second-quarter results Thursday morning, recording a decline in sales brought on in part by the fact that fewer consumers are getting engaged.
Akron, Ohio—Signet Jewelers Ltd. reported declining sales in the second quarter as issues like inflation and rising interest rates weighed on consumers and the number of engagements declined.

The jewelry giant, which is the parent company of several large jewelry store chains including Zales, Jared, and Kay Jewelers, noted a “challenging” macroeconomic environment but is not altering its sales forecast for the year.

“In the second quarter, we exceeded our revenue and bottom-line commitments and we remain confident in our full-year guidance,” Signet Jewelers CEO Virginia C. Drosos said on the company’s earnings call Thursday morning.

From a bridal recovery to holiday offerings, here are five things to know about its recent earnings report.

Second-quarter same-store sales were down significantly.

For the quarter ending July 29, Signet’s sales totaled $1.61 billion, down 8 percent year-over-year, but above its prior guidance of $1.53 billion to $1.58 billion.

Same-store sales fell 12 percent.

In the first half of the year, sales have totaled $3.28 billion, down 9 percent year-over-year.

Same-store sales in the first half were down 13 percent.

“We delivered these results in a challenging macro environment, which affects our midmarket customers disproportionately,” said Drosos.

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

Signet’s second-quarter sales in the region totaled $1.5 billion, down 7 percent year-over-year.

Same-store sales were down 12 percent.

The company noted that its average transaction value (ATV) was up 4 percent in the quarter, driven by Blue Nile, though there were fewer transactions.

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

International sales totaled $102 million, down 9 percent year-over-year. Same-store sales were down 8 percent in the quarter.

Its international banners also noted a rise in ATV, 3 percent, and a lower number of transactions.

A bridal recovery is on the horizon, Signet says.

Bridal sales have been waning in recent quarters but that could be about to change, Signet said.

The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the dating world. Signet’s data shows engagements typically occur within three years of a couple dating, so recovery is expected to begin later in fiscal 2024 with a more robust rebound expected in fiscal 2025.

Signet estimated there were around 2.8 million engagements per year pre-pandemic, set to bottom out this year at 2.1 million to 2.2 million, about 25 percent fewer.

“As engagements begin their recovery later this year, we’re positioning ourselves to capture a multi-year tailwind,” said Drosos.

She noted bridal purchases tend to be a customer’s first major jewelry purchase, marking their entry point into the fine jewelry world, which usually leads to future purchases.

Drosos estimated there is a $600 million revenue growth opportunity for Signet in the bridal market.

 Related stories will be right here … 

For fashion jewelry, shoppers are going back to basics.

Drosos noted that while overall fashion (non-bridal) jewelry sales improved “modestly,” it saw a “robust” performance in the category for pieces priced below $1,000.

At Kay, its basics assortment, which includes hoops and other classic gold and diamond styles, performed well as shoppers opted for versatile, everyday pieces.

Kay, Zales and Jared saw comparable sales growth at the highest price points in the fashion assortments. “Our data on independent jewelers shows declines in this segment, reflecting our share gains in the quarter,” she said.

As Signet preps for the holiday season, Drosos shared what its banners will be stocking.

Kay is bolstering its yellow gold offerings. Yellow gold jewelry, “continues to trend well and is multi-culturally appealing,” said Drosos.

The banner will also be adding gift box assortments under $500.

For bridal, Kay will introduce rings with larger center stones and new collections from Neil Lane and Monique Lhuillier.

At Zales, new styles will be added to its “Vera Wang Love” bridal collection, as well as new fine jewelry options, like hoops and diamond fashion jewelry.

At Jared, 30 percent of its bridal jewelry is now yellow gold, said Drosos. The banner also will stock “gender-inclusive” commitment rings.

In addition, the banner will introduce a personalized charm collection with an entry-level price point.

Drosos also touched on Signet’s lab-grown diamond business, noting the man-made stones make up less than 20 percent of its diamond inventory.

Its lab-grown diamond jewelry offerings have both a higher margin and a higher ATV than natural diamonds, she said.

Its services segment continues to grow.

Signet has been focused on growing its services revenue in recent quarters.

The segment outperformed merchandise again this quarter, Drosos noted, with revenue increasing 4 percent.

Growth drivers included its extended service agreements, customization, repairs, and piercings.

Drosos said the company is increasing the number of locations that offer piercing and permanent jewelry services.

In July, Signet Jewelers announced it had acquired the assets of the Service Jewelry Repair National Repair Center, or SJR, allowing it to bring more repairs in-house.

The jeweler has plans for the recently closed Blue Nile fulfillment center in Seattle, which it will transition into a central repair center that will service all Signet’s banners.

“The capabilities that SJR and the Blue Nile center bring will complement the capabilities of our existing team of 1,800 jewelers and further positions Signet as the most prominent service provider in the industry today,” Chief Financial, Strategy and Services Officer Joan Hilson said in an interview with National Jeweler last month.

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.

Signet stands firm on its forecast.

For fiscal 2024, Signet reiterated its guidance for sales of $7.1 billion-$7.3 billion.

For the third quarter, the company is expecting sales of $1.36 billion-$1.41 billion.

“We continue to anticipate a cautious consumer driven by macro pressure, reflected in traffic decreases. We will continue to use strategic levels of promotion to encourage traffic and conversion,” Hilson said.

Signet said total sales for the entire U.S. fine jewelry industry are expected to be down more than its previous forecast of a mid-single-digit decline.

The decline is likely to be “driven by the impacts of macroeconomic factors on consumer spending and continued shift of consumer discretionary spend,” the company said.

As part of its cost-cutting efforts, the retailer, which operates more than 2,700 stores, announced last quarter that it is set to close 150 stores over the next 12 months, zeroing in on those that have not met productivity goals.

It will open 30 to 35 stores, said Hilson, mainly Kay, Jared, and Diamonds Direct locations, which operate bigger stores with higher ATVs, equating to roughly the same amount of retail square footage for the company as a whole.

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