Like-for-like sales drop at H Samuel and Ernest Jones
Jewellery retail group Signet has reported a fall in profits because of declining sales at its UK chains H Samuel and Ernest Jones.

Like-for-like sales at the two chains, accounting for 30 per cent of group sales, declined 8.1 per cent in the 13 weeks to October 29 - slight increase on the 7.9 per cent like-for-like fall in the 39 weeks to the same day.

Group profit before tax fell in the quarter to£3 million from£7 million last year, despite a boom in the US, where like-for-like sales increased 6.6 per cent. Total group like-for-like sales rose 1.8 per cent.

Group chief executive Terry Burman blamed a difficult trading environment in the UK, but said: 'Our businesses are in good shape and are well-placed to compete. As always, results for the year as a whole will be dependent on the outcome during the all important fourth quarter, which represents some 40 per cent of annual sales.'