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Signet Sinks Again; 4Q Comps Fall 4.5 Percent

Signet Jewelers reported yet another downbeat quarter, with sales falling at every division except for Piercing Pagoda.

Overall same-stores sales fell 4.5 percent in the quarter, and 1.9 percent for fiscal year 2017.

Fourth quarter comps fell 5 percent at Kay, 3.2 percent at Jared, 16.4 percent at regional brands, 4.5 percent at Zales, 13.3 percent at Gordon’s, 3.8 percent at the U.K. division, and 7.2 percent at the Canadian division. Only Piercing Pagoda stuck out from the sea of down arrows, with sales rising 5.7 percent.

While the retailer has been subject to an extraordinary string of recent bad publicity, most notably allegations of sexual harassment, CEO Mark Light pointed to macro conditions for the poor results.

“We are adapting to a challenging retail environment and weak mall traffic,” he said in a statement.

In a conference call following the financial results, Light said that the company was also looking into more items meant for female self-purchase.

He also said the company is increasingly focused on omnichannel, and wants to beef up its digital ecosystem, including greater investment in digital marketing, enhancing its architecture, and investing heavily in the Zales platform.

Overall net income for the quarter was $399.2 million, up 1.6 percent.

Signet chairman Todd Stitzer also released a long statement addressing allegations of sexual harrasment and gender discrimination. He said the board will appoint a new Respect in the Workplace committee that will focus on programs and policies to support the advance and development of female team members. The committee, made up of its female directors, will appoint an independent consultant to conduct a review of current and future policies; it will also establish an independent ombudsperson to deal with employee issues.

“We do not tolerate discrimination or harassment of any kind and we want to be sure that the framework we have in place for reporting and responding to any such issues is robust and effective,” said Stitzer in the statement. “It is the intention of this board and the senior management team to make certain that our culture and our team members are fully supported at every level, because culture and people have helped make Signet the leading company in our industry.”
(Photo by Cortney Martin)