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Signet Jewelers Ltd SIG
Q4 2013 Earnings Call Transcript

Transcript Call Date 03/28/2013

Operator: Welcome to the Signet Jewelers' Fiscal 2013 Fourth Quarter and Full Year Results Conference Call. My name is Lorraine and I will be your operator for today's call. At this time all participants are in a listen-only mode. Later we will conduct a question-and-answer session.

I would now like to turn the conference over to Mr. James Grant, Vice President of Investor Relations. Sir, you may begin.

James Grant - VP, IR: Good morning and welcome to our fiscal 2013 earnings call. On our call today are Mike Barnes, CEO; and Ron Ristau, CFO.

The presentation deck we will be referencing is available from the financial section of our website www.signetjewelers.com. During today's presentation 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, cautionary language and other disclosures in the annual report on Form 10-K filed with the SEC today. We also draw your attention to Slide 2 in today's presentation.

Now I will turn the call over to Mike.

Michael W. Barnes - CEO: Thank you, James and good morning, everyone. We are very pleased with our record fourth quarter and full year results. For the quarter, our comps at Signet increased by 3.5%. U.S. division comps grew at 4.9% on top of an 8.3% increase in Q4 of the prior year. U.K. comps declined 1.9% that was against a 1.7% increase in the Q4 of the prior year.

I'll speak in a few minutes about how we're addressing the U.K. results. Signet delivered record Q4 profits driven by the strong execution of our strategies, which led the growth in same-store sales, store productivity and gross margin. Operating income was $267.7 million, up $23.8 million or a 9.8% and diluted earnings per share were $2.12, up $0.33 or 18.4%.

Now, turning to the excellent results of our full fiscal year 2013; same-store sales increased by 3.3%. The U.S., which represented 82% of our sales for the year delivered 4% comp store sales, which was outstanding after an increase of 11.1% last year. In the U.K., we comped slightly positive at 0.3%. We delivered a record profit for the year. Our operating income climbed by 10.5% and diluted earnings per share came in at $4.35, up 16.6%.

There were other highlights as well beyond just the income statement. We repurchased 7.4% of our outstanding shares in fiscal 2013. Also, we increased our dividend in the first quarter by 20% and I am very happy to say we announced today another dividend increase this time by 25% or $0.03 per share on a quarterly basis.

Also during fiscal '13, we had a strong operational performance. We increased our square footage globally by 8.2%. In part through the acquisition of Ultra stores to gain a leading position in the outlet channel space, and organically by opening 46 new Kay and seven new Jared stores for a total of 53.

Now looking at the annual U.S. performance in a little more detail; in general for the year, we saw a broad based strength across many merchandise categories in both Kay and Jared, as well as the Ultra acquisition, which occurred at the beginning of Q4. U.S. total sales were approximately $3.3 billion, up $239.8 million or an increase of 7.9%.

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