Jewellery powerhouse reveals successful trading period
Transatlantic jewellery giant Signet unveiled sparkling Christmas trading figures, powered by a sales surge at its US stores. Group like-for-likes climbed 3.7 per cent in the nine weeks to January 1, and the retailer - which runs market-leading chains such as Kay in the US and H Samuel in the UK - was confident of meeting full-year profit expectations of between£209 million and£215 million. However, the weakness of the dollar means that profit before tax will have taken a hit of about 7 per cent.

In the US, where Signet does two thirds of its business, comparable store sales advanced 4.9 per cent over the nine-week period. Increased TV advertising and an especially strong performance from Jared stores helped the rise.

In the UK, Ernest Jones managed 3.3 per cent like-for-like growth, but the figure was only 0.2 per cent at H Samuel. Signet chief executive Terry Burman said: 'The group did not participate in the higher level of discounting that was generally evident on both sides of the Atlantic and gross margin was broadly maintained during the period.'

Group sales climbed 5.1 per cent in the 48 weeks to January 1.