Signet Jewelers Plunges as Jared, Kay Holiday Sales Disappoint

(Bloomberg) -- Signet Jewelers Ltd. plummeted as much as 23 percent, hitting the lowest point since 2009, after reporting a sales drop during the crucial holiday period. The mall-based retailer, which owns chains like Zales, Jared and Kay Jewelers, said that foot traffic at stores fell “during key December gifting weeks.”

  • Same-store sales, a key metric of performance for retailers, fell 1.3 percent during the nine weeks ended Jan. 5. The company also slashed its outlook for profit and sales for fiscal 2019.

Key Insights

  • The worse-than-expected results underscore the need for changes as consumers change how -- and where -- they buy jewelry. Online holiday sales rose 5.6 percent as in-store sales slumped 2.2 percent. Chief Executive Officer Virginia Drosos said the company will provide an update on its strategic plan, which includes cutting back its store fleet and improving its product selection, in March.
  • Signet’s results reinforce an emerging narrative: Forecasters entered the critical holiday period expecting one of the best Christmas seasons in recent memory. But after a strong Black Friday weekend, retailers including Macy’s Inc. reported traffic slowed.
  • Tiffany & Co. will report its holiday sales performance on Friday, which will indicate whether the slowdown experienced by Signet carried into premium jewelry. Holiday-season luxury sales tend to soar in the final days before Christmas, so a wider late-season pullback wouldn’t be good news for the higher-end brands.
Signet Jewelers Plunges as Jared, Kay Holiday Sales Disappoint

Market Reaction

  • Signet’s share price plummeted as much as 23 percent to $26.05 at 9:48 a.m. in New York. Before the holiday-sales news, the shares had been up 5 percent this year to date, slightly outpacing the S&P 500 Index.
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