US jeweller Signet UK like-for-likes remained flat in its first quarter but losses have narrowed year-on-year.

UK like-for-likes were 0.2% up in the 13 weeks to April 30 as total sales rose 4.5% to $149.3m (£92.3m) . In contrast its US like-for-likes jumped 12.5%.

The UK’s net operating loss decreased from $1.2m (£0.74m) to $0.2m (£0.12m) year-on-year.

Gross margin declined 30 basis points in the UK - where it operates as H Samuel, Ernest Jones and Leslie Davis - which the jeweller said was due to escalating commodity costs, higher VAT and currency exchanges compared to last year.

Signet chief executive Mike Barnes said: “Our performance was led by our US division with the UK division continuing to operate well in a challenging economy.”

The group made no reference to speculation that it was mulling a sale of its UK business.

H Samuel was its top performing UK fascia with like-for-likes up 2.7% and total sales at $79.5m (£49.1m) . Like-for-likes decreased 2.4% at its Ernest Jones and Leslie Davis fascias.