Signet’s UK like-for-like sales edged up for the first quarter of 2012.

The owner of H Samuel and Ernest Jones said UK like-for-like sales were up 1.2% in the 13 weeks to April 30. Total UK sales marginally dropped 0.5% to $148.5m (£94.6m).

The jeweller said gross margin in the UK was down by $1.8m (£1.1m) compared to the same period a year ago, citing “an unfavorable foreign currency impact and a decline in gross merchandise margin”.

In total overall like-for-like sales increased 1.2% for the 13 weeks to April 30. Overall sales were up 1.4% to $900m (£574m).

H Samuel saw sales go up by 0.8% to $80.1m (£51m). Sales at its sister retailer Ernest Jones rose 2% to $68.4m (£43.6m).

Signet chief executive Mike Barnes said: “In the second quarter to date, which benefited from the calendar shift, our same store sales, including Mother’s Day, were up strong double-digits reflecting the customer’s broad acceptance of our merchandise offerings, our great customer experience and the effectiveness of our advertising in this important gift giving period. 

Our results year to date, combined with our focus on competitive strengths and our consistent ability to execute our initiatives, leave us well positioned to meet the challenges of the current economic environment and achieve our objectives for the year.”

Signet operates 1,851 stores worldwide, including 334 H Samuel stores and 197 Ernest Jones stores in the UK.