By Michelle Graff
Hamilton, Bermuda--Same-store sales in the U.S. were up 4 percent for Signet Jewelers Ltd. in the fourth quarter, while e-commerce sales climbed 21 percent to $61.9 million.

Signet, parent company of the Kay Jewelers, Jared the Galleria of Jewelry, and Zales chains, said Thursday that total sales increased by 4 percent during the three-month period ended Feb. 1 to $1.29 billion. This growth was led by a variety of merchandise categories, including strong performances from bridal, colored diamonds, fashion jewelry, beads and watches.

Operating income was nearly flat in the U.S. at $227.9 million.

Total same-store sale for Signet, which includes the U.S. and the U.K., were up 4 percent during the quarter. Total sales were also up, rising 3 percent from the year-earlier to $1.56 billion, while e-commerce sales reached $79 million on a 24 percent increase. Operating income for the whole company was $270.6 million.

For the fiscal full year, U.S. same-store sales increased by 5 percent year-over-year, while total sales rose by 7 percent to hit $3.52 billion. The growth is attributed to higher sales from Artistry Diamonds, Jared Vivid Diamonds, Le Vian, Neil Lane Designs, Tolkowsky Diamond and Shades of Wonder, as well as the inclusion of Ultra’s performance for a full year, which added an additional $91.3 million in sales.

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Same-store sales for the company overall in fiscal 2014 were up 4 percent, while total sales rose 6 percent, from $3.98 billion to $4.21 billion. Operating income was $570.5 million, a modest 2 percent increase from the previous fiscal year.

“Our strong performance continues to reflect the success of our growth initiatives,” said Signet CEO Mike Barnes. “Creating an outstanding customer experience, delivering compelling merchandise, heightening awareness through our continued advertising investment in support of our store concepts and merchandise brands, and offering customer finance programs in the U.S. all work together to support our customers’ jewelry purchases and drive sales.”

As of Feb. 1, Signet had a total of 1,964 stores across all divisions, including 1,471 in the U.S., up from 1,954 stores in 2013, 1,443 of which were U.S. locations.

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Looking to fiscal 2015, Signet said that it expects first quarter same-store sales to increase in the range of 3 percent to 4 percent. The company will also continue to work to integrate Zale Corp. after the deal to acquire the retailer was announced in February. 

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