Signet to close 80 UK stores permanently

Signet Jewelers has announced that it will not reopen 80 of its UK stores, in an effort to emerge “stronger and more efficient” following the Covid-19 crisis. 

As part of its decision to accelerate its ‘Path to Brilliance’ programme Signet, which has 3,200 stores worldwide, has revealed initially 150 of its US and Canadian sites will close alongside 80 UK stores. With plans for additional closures of 150 locations expected when leases are reviewed.

News of the closures comes as the retailer reported that same store sales were down 38.9% in the first quarter of the year, with operating income down 34.2% in the same period. Despite this, e-commerce sales were $164.7m (£128.9m) up 6.7% including Covid-19 impacts.

The company said it expects business to “return gradually”, and remaining store re-openings will continue with “safety prioritised”.

CEO Virginia C. Drosos said: “We began our fiscal year with strong Valentine’s Day sales performance, and then quickly pivoted and further adapted our eCommerce operating model to serve customers during stay-at-home restrictions with new technology, virtual consultation and selling solutions.

“We are gathering valuable insights on customer behaviors and plan to use these learnings to enhance our competitive advantage and emerge stronger from the crisis with optimized virtual and physical footprints to meet our customers where and how they choose to shop.”

She added: “We have moved forward in our digital journey while also making significant progress controlling costs, prioritizing investments to drive sustainable growth, and preserving liquidity.”

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