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Signet Jewelers Ltd SIG
Q1 2014 Earnings Call Transcript

Transcript Call Date 05/23/2013

Operator: Welcome to the Signet Jewelers First Quarter Fiscal 2014 Results Conference Call. My name is Larisa 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. And I will turn the call over to Mr. James Grant, Vice President of Investor Relations. Sir, you may begin.

James Grant - VP, IR: Good morning and welcome to our first quarter fiscal 2014 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, 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 that was filed with the SEC on March 28, 2013. We also draw your attention to Slide Number 2 in today's presentation.

I will now turn the call over to Mike.

Michael W. Barnes - CEO: Thanks James, and good morning, everyone. We are very pleased with our outstanding first quarter results. We delivered a strong financial performance in the first quarter, driven by the excellent execution of our strategies, which led to sales growth and expense leverage.

Our comps at Signet increased by 6.4%. The U.S. division comps grew 8.1% on top of a 1.2% increase last year and in the U.K., comps declined by 2.3%. We also had tremendous continued momentum within our consolidated eCommerce space as we grew by 40.7%. Of significance, as of 2012, Signet is now the number three largest eCommerce retailer in the jewelry category. That is up from 2009 when we stood at number 11. It is a great performance for our eComm team. Altogether, this led to operating income of $142.8 million, up $13.4 million, or 10.4% and diluted earnings per share were a record $1.13, up $0.17 or 17.7%.

So let's begin by taking a look at the U.S. division performance. In the U.S., total sales were $858.6 million, up $107.1 million, or 14.3%. Our sales growth was driven by broad-based strength across all merchandise categories in both Kay and Jared, as well as the Ultra acquisition. Kay and Jared experienced increases in transaction counts and Kay, in particular, increased in average transaction value.

U.S. same-store sales increased by 8.1% in the first quarter. Kay comps increased 10.2% while Jared increased by 6%. The success in both concepts was driven in part by a successful Valentine's Day period, but also by broad-based strength across all merchandise categories through most of the quarter, particularly in bridal and a strong lead into Mother's Day. And in the U.S., as I mentioned earlier, eCommerce performed strongly with sales up $8.3 million to $25.6 million, an increase of 48% for the U.S. division. The U.S. division also delivered operating profit growth of 11% with a 17.8% operating margin. Excluding the diluted effect of the Ultra acquisition operating income increased 13.7% and operating margin was 19%, up 70 basis points, a record level for the first quarter. It was another great quarter for the U.S. team members.

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