Signet, the world’s biggest specialist jewellery retailer, posted a 6.7 per cent group like-for-like fall in the fourth quarter, propelled by an 8.6 per cent drop in the US.

A 1.7 per cent slip in the UK was better than expected, but analysts remained cautious because most of Signet’s business is in the US.

Investec said: “Signet’s current reverse is primarily a reflection of macro-economic pressures and low consumer confidence, rather than the result of poor management decisions and operational execution.” The broker maintained its hold stance, because of the uncertain consumer spending outlook.

Panmure Gordon advised sell and noted: “The risk is that the trading environment in the US will deteriorate more than we anticipate and we think UK trading will weaken further, which makes us reluctant to turn more positive on the stock at present.”