Anglo-American jeweller Signet is mulling a sale of its UK arm and is sounding out private equity firms about buying the business, which operates as H Samuel, Ernest Jones and Leslie Davis.

The jeweller’s long-standing financial adviser Lazard had been given the mandate of ascertaining what price Signet’s UK business might achieve according to The Sunday Telegraph. It is thought that it could fetch between £400m to £600m.

It is understood the process is still at a very early stage and the board may decide to hold onto its UK business following the tentative approaches to potential buyers.

Signet’s UK like-for-likes were down 1.4% in its year to January 29 against 8.9% like-for-like growth in the US. In its current financial year UK like-for-likes have plunged 4.6% and the retailer has warned that trading conditions remain challenging in the region.   

The UK division achieved operating profit of £35m on sales of £428.6m. Signet operates almost 600 stores in the UK.