By Brecken Branstrator
One of the rings in Signet Jewelers Ltd.’s “Ever Us” collection of two-stone jewelry. The collection continues to be a success for Signet, and CEO Mark Light said in its first quarter conference call that they were testing out line extensions in time for the holiday season.
Hamilton, Bermuda--Signet saw positive growth in its first quarter of the fiscal year, with comps and total sales both increasing, due in large part to the success of its Ever Us two-stone line, diamond fashion jewelry and select branded bridal.

Same-store sales in the three-month period ended April 30 grew by 2 percent, while total sales were up 3 percent to $1.58 billion (a 4 percent increase on a constant-exchange-rate basis).

In a conference call Thursday morning, CEO Mark Light said that the company is testing a number of extensions to its successful Ever Us line, including new diamond ring styles as well as bracelets and necklaces, in time for the holiday season.

The company also is testing a collection of Vera Wang fashion diamond jewelry and pearl jewelry, joining the trend of jewelry companies collaborating with established fashion brands on designs.

Additionally, Signet is “resetting” its Pandora presentation, Light said, with new shop-in-shops. The company will release a television advertising campaign behind the brand in the fourth quarter.

Signet also is rolling out its Chosen Diamond program, which kicked off last fall and allows customers to trace the journey of their diamond from mine to market, to all stores, and will bring new technology to its stores that will allow “clienteling,” as Light referred to it, for employees to establish relationships and engage customers based on their previous purchase history and profile.

By division, Sterling’s same-store sales in Q1 were up 2 percent on the strength of select branded bridal jewelry as well as fashion jewelry, Charmed Memories and lower-priced promotional items that drove transactions. Total sales for Sterling in the three-month period rose 4 percent to $980.4 million.

The Zale Division also saw comps increase nearly 3 percent on diamond fashion jewelry and branded bridal as well as lower-priced promotional items, while sales hit $450.4 million, a 3 percent increase compared with the year-earlier period. Total sales for Zale’s U.S. jewelry division rose 4 percent to $330 million.

The company said that Sunday (May 29) marks the two-year anniversary since the close of the acquisition of Zale, and notes that the “integration continues to go extremely well across all aspects of our business.”

Meanwhile, e-commerce sales for Signet in the first quarter were $80.1 million, making up 5 percent of total sales. This is a $3.2 million increase compared with the prior-year period.

The company reaffirmed its annual guidance for the year, noting that it expects same-store sales growth of between 1 percent and 2 percent in the second quarter, and an increase in comps of 2 to 3.5 percent for the full year.

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