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Signet Jewelers Ltd SIG
Q3 2011 Earnings Call Transcript

Transcript Call Date 11/23/2010

Operator: Good day, ladies and gentlemen, we are currently awaiting the arrival and we are starting today’s Signet Jewelers Third Quarter Results Conference Call. For your information, today's conference is being recorded. At this time I would like to turn the conference over to your host today, Mr. Terry Burman. Please go ahead, sir.

Terry Burman - CEO: Thank you, operator. Good morning and welcome to the conference call for Signet's third quarter of fiscal 2011. I'm Terry Burman, Chief Executive and with me is Ron Ristau, our CFO. The presentation deck we will be talking to is available from the webcast section of the Company website, www.signetjewelers.com.

Before I go through our operating review, Ron will give the Safe Harbor statement and review the financial performance. Please note that we’ll not be commenting on the fourth quarter during this call. Ron?

Ron Ristau - CFO: Thank you, Terry. During today's call we will, in places, discuss Signet's business outlook and make certain forward-looking statements. Any statements that are not historical facts are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties, and actual results may differ materially.

We urge you to read the risk factors and cautionary language in Signet Jewelers’ Annual Report on Form 10-K filed with the SEC on March 30, 2010, which can be found on the Company’s website at www.signetjewelers.com.

Additionally, certain financial information used during this call are considered to be non-GAAP financial measures. For a reconciliation of this information to the most directly comparable GAAP financial measures, please refer to the Company’s release dated November 23, 2010, available on the latest news section of Signet’s website.

We are delighted with our third quarter results, reflecting the ongoing success of our competitive advantages and strong balance sheet.

In particular, total Signet same store sales were up by 7.2%, led by the 9.7% U.S. comp store growth. This performance drove an increase in operating margin of 390 basis points, and have returned to third quarter profitability.

Following these results, we have raised our outlook for free cash flow to the high end of our previous guidance that is $225 million to $275 million, before prepayment of the private placement notes and the resulting $47 million Make Whole payment.

Total sales for Signet increased to $641.8 million in the third quarter of fiscal 2011, compared to $611.4 million in the third quarter last year. Total company comparable store sales for the quarter increased by 7.2%, versus a decline of 1.8% in the prior year.

In the U.S., sales increased to $497 million primarily reflecting a comparable store sales increase of 9.7%. In the U.K., sales declined to $144.8 million reflecting a comp store sales decline of 0.6%, currency fluctuations, and the impact of space.

Year-to-date, sales were $ 2,166,900,000 compared to $2,076,800,000 in the year-to-date last year. Total Company comparable store sales for the year-to-date increased by 5.8% versus a decline of 3.4% in the prior year.

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