Jewellery giant Signet revealed that like-for-like sales fell 6.7 per cent in the 13 weeks to February 2, following a poor Christmas at its UK chains H Samuel and Ernest Jones.

Total sales slid 6.1 per cent, on a reported basis, to US$1.38 billion (£705.3 million). At its UK division, like-for-likes were down 1.7 per cent, dropping 1.2 per cent at H Samuel and 2.2 per cent at Ernest Jones.

Signet chief executive Terry Burman said: “The UK division had a disappointing Christmas period, but saw some improvement in January. In the fourth quarter, the US business faced a very difficult environment, with January adversely affected by a change in promotional activity.”

In the year to February 2, group like-for-likes dropped 0.7 per cent, but total sales increased 3 per cent on a reported basis to US$3.67 billion (£1.88 billion). Burman said: “For the year as a whole, the US business executed its space growth plan and achieved a 4.1 per cent increase in total sales on a 52-week basis. The UK division’s like-for-like sales increased by 2 per cent, a good performance given the challenging fourth quarter.”