Offer not expected until after Christmas
Gerald Ratner is expected to delay making a formal bid for the specialist jewellery retailer Signet Group - the company he used to run - until after Christmas.

He is reported to have a made an offer of£350 million for the Group, which trades under brands H Samuel, Leslie Davis and Ernest Jones in its UK division, but the proposal was rejected. The company refused to confirm if an offer was made.

Signet Group unveiled a strong sales performance in the third quarter. It's UK like-for-like sales rose 3 per cent, with H Samuel's like-for-like sales up 1.7 per cent and Ernest Jones climbing 4.4 per cent.

Signet group chief executive Terry Burman said: 'The Group has had another good quarter. The UK division continued its improving trend with like-for-like sales growth of 3 per cent. Both Ernest Jones and H Samuel showed increases for the period.'

However, if H Samuel's performance in the build-up to Christmas is weak, Ratner's post-festive bid may have more chance of success.