In a statement released today, the group said it had held 'preliminary discussions with Zale Corporation regarding a possible merger. However, at this early stage, there is considerable uncertainty as to whether any transaction will be forthcoming.'
The Mail on Sunday reported that Signet had been approached by Zale and its adviser Goldman Sachs during the past few months and was in secret talks about a possible£2.3 billion tie-up.
Signet's US operations, which account for 70 per cent of its business, are led by top-selling brand Kay. Kay recently knocked Zales the Diamond Store off the top of the US sales league.