Anglo-American jewellery retailer Signet has reported like-for-like sales for its UK operations down 0.8% in the nine weeks to January 2, and 2.2% down on the 48 weeks to the same date.

Overall group sales figures were down 0.6% on the 48-week period and up 5.6% on the nine-week period, buoyed by a sharp rise in same store sales in the US, which were up 7.6% on the nine weeks to January 2.

Signet said that it now anticipates full year pre-tax profits to fall, reaching $222.5m-$232.5m (£137.7m-£143.8m) for the year to January 30.

In the nine week period to January 2, UK same store sales declined by 0.8%, with Signet reporting some impact because of weather disruption in the final week before Christmas. Total sales were up by 8.6% on a reported basis and down by 0.7% at constant exchange rates.

Like-for-like sales at H Samuel were down 1.6% for the 48-week period and 1.5% for the nine week trading period. At Ernest Jones the comparable figures were 3.1% down and 0.2% up.

The average selling price was up in H Samuel by about 8% and by about 15% in Ernest Jones. The gross margin for the nine weeks is expected to be about 80 basis points below last year.

Signet chief executive Terry Burman, said: “We believe our long term strategy of focusing on sustainable competitive advantages in the basic retail disciplines has once again proven to be successful.”

Signet operated 554 stores in the UK at January 2, where it trades as H Samuel, Ernest Jones and Leslie Davis and which account for 22% of group sales.

The recruitment process for a new group chief executive officer will begin in February.