Signet Jewelers, the owner of the Kay Jewelers, Zales and Jared chains, on Thursday reported weak holiday sales and hinted that it will speed up store closings, a disappointing development for a retailer in what was a strong consumer spending environment over the holidays. MasterCard Spending Pulse recently estimated U.S. retail sales rose 5.1% during that period. For jewelry, the figure was a 3.7% jump.
But Signet said sales at stores open for at least 12 months fell 1.3% in the nine weeks ended January 5. Signet pointed to “reduced traffic during key December gifting weeks.” Its higher end Jared chain, which operates outside of malls in stand-alone stores, saw the worst of it with comparable sales down 8%.. . . more