Jewellery giant Signet is expected to indicate next week that trading has softened in its key US market.

Analysts will look for signs at the retailer’s preliminary results on Wednesday that product price increases are paying off. Signet generates more than 70 per cent of profits in the US, where it is the market leader.

In February, the world’s biggest jewellery specialist posted a 6.7 per cent like-for-like drop for the fourth quarter to February 2, propelled by an 8.6 per cent drop in the US. The UK recorded a 1.7 per cent like-for-like decline.

Signet said it would increase prices after Valentine’s Day to cover rising input costs from the soaring price of gold and increasing import duties on Asian goods.

One industry analyst said: “They are hoping their competitors will follow and I’m sure they will, but it’s coming at a time when customers are not spending.”

Investec analyst David Jeary hoped Signet would indicate what competitor and customer reaction had been to price hikes.

Jeary said: “The more interesting thing has nothing to do with looking in the rear-view mirror, it is whether we will see anything quantitative about the trading environment in the US and UK.”

Signet’s management has previously indicated that pre-tax profits are likely to be US$330 million to US$340 million (£166.4 million to£171.5 million) and Jeary expects Signet to reach this. He believes that like-for-like sales this year will remain negative in both the UK and US.

Meanwhile, the retailer faces pay and promotion discrimination allegations in the US from staff at its wholly owned subsidiary Sterling Jewelers, the country’s biggest jeweller.

A class-action suit against Sterling was filed in New York on behalf of 15 past and present female employees. Signet denies the allegation and will contest the case if necessary.