Jewellery retailer Signet’s UK arm has suffered an 8 per cent fall in like-for-like sales in the past three weeks of trading.

In the 13 weeks to November 1, UK like-for-likes dropped 2.4 per cent.

Like-for-likes dipped 1.6 per cent at its H Samuel chain and 3.3 per cent at Ernest Jones in the period. UK sales declined 14.9 per cent to US$162.2 million (£102 million).

In the 39 weeks to November 1, UK like-for-likes rose 0.8 per cent, with H Samuel up 1.1 per cent and Ernest Jones climbing 0.5 per cent.

Group comparable store sales, which include its US outlets, dropped 6.6 per cent in the 13-week period and 4.3 per cent in the 39-week period.

In the past seven weeks of trading, like-for-like sales at its US arm plummeted 11 per cent.

Group chief executive Terry Burman said: “The UK division continued to outperform the non-food retail sector on a same store sales basis. Until mid-October, the performance was broadly similar to that reported by the business for the second quarter but in the last three weeks same store sales declined by some 8 per cent.

“In a very difficult trading environment on both sides of the Atlantic, we have a strong business that we continue to manage cautiously. Our focus is on maximising gross margin dollars, a tight control of costs and inventory, as well as maintaining a strong balance sheet.”

Investec analyst David Jeary said the news is likely to “concern investors”, but he added: "We continue to believe, however, that Signet is a well managed company with strong long-term growth prospects.”