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Signet Jewelers' CEO Discusses F1Q13 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Jared comps were 0.2%. Jared also had a similar trading pattern with February comps up 8.1% and April adversely impacted by the calendar shift. Overall, U.S. same-store sales increased 1.2% in the first quarter.

As we moved into the second quarter, including the Mother’s Day trading period, we’ve seen strong double-digit comps. A very strong all round performance for this major gift giving period for our U.S. division.

Our operating income was a $137.7 million, up $11.5 million or 9.1%, reflecting the tight management of expenses in anticipation of this calendar shift. And the operating margin increased by 120 basis points to 18.3%, a record level for the first quarter.

Now let’s turn to Mother’s Day because as we know its all about Mom. We had a very strong Mother’s Day in the U.S. with May month-to-date sales of approximately 21% following a 16% increase last year. Adjusted for the Mother’s Day related timing shifts, same-store sales were up approximately 9% following a 14% increase last year. We are very pleased with this performance month-to-date encompassing this very important holiday period.

Now turning to the U.K. The total sales were $148.5 million, a constant exchange rate that were up 1.4%. Same-store sales were up 1.2% with H.Samuel leading the way. The same-store sales performance continued to be ahead of nonfood retailers in the U.K. as reported by the British Retail Consortium.

The growth was driven by new product initiatives, particularly in H.Samuel, the strong performance from store investments made last year and our success in competing in a promotional environment. There was an operating loss of $3 million, down $2.8 million which was inline with our plan. The performance was primarily due to a lower gross merchandise margin. We are focused in the U.K. on initiatives, such as testing new merchandise, staff training, and planning for Christmas. With the objective of driving costs in this key holiday season, while identifying further opportunities to control cost.

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