I will now hand over to Mike.
Thanks Tim, and good morning to everyone. We delivered strong financial results in the first quarter, and increased our earnings per share by 10.3% to $0.96. We anticipated the impact of the calendar shift as discussed on our last call and managed our business including expenses accordingly, leading to this double-digit earnings increase.
I’d like to thank all at Signet who contributed third-party these record results. In the second quarter to-date, which benefited from the calendar shift our same-store sales including Mother’s Day, were up strong double-digits reflecting the customers broad acceptance of our merchandised offerings, our great customer experience and the effectiveness of our advertising, all of which we consider to be core competitive strengths. I will speak more specifically about Mother’s Day in a moment.Our results year-to-date and our consistent ability to execute our initiatives, leave us well positioned to meet the challenges of the current economic environment and achieve our objectives for this year.Same-store sales were up 1.2%. The impact of the calendar shift reduced first quarter sales by an estimated $32 million or by about 370 basis points. In the U.S. we delivered same-store sales of 1.2%, after an increase of 12.5% last year with the promotional shift having an estimated 440 basis point impact. In the U.K. we’re pleased to again report a positive comp and again it was 1.2%, and what remains a challenging environment. This reflected as expected, a significant improvement from the February performance, which we discussed in our last call. Income before income taxes was $128.5 million or an increase of 9.1%.Now let’s look at the U.S. performance in a little bit more detail. U.S. total sales were $751.5 million, up $13.5 million, an increase of 1.8%. Kay same-store sales increased by 2.9%. During February which includes the important Valentine’s Day period, same-store sales were up 8.4% with April being adversely impacted by the calendar shift.
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