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Signet's Christmas sales sparkle as group appoints first CIO

US-based jeweller has praised the performance of its UK division over the Christmas period, with in-store and eCommerce sales significantly up compared to the 2013 festive season.

In a statement released on Thursday, the business said the omnichannel strategy it has introduced across its estate was successful during what is typically considered one of the most crucial trading periods of the year.

Sales at its UK retailers, H Samuel and Ernest Jones, for the eight weeks ending 27 December 2014 were up 9.7% on the same period one year before, totalling $215.1 million. The former reported sales of $121.7 million, while the latter generated revenue of $93.4 million.

The UK businesses outperformed the rest of the group, with overall Signet sales up 3.6% to $1.85 billion. The company's North American division includes the Kay, Jared and Zale brands, among others.

Overall eCommerce sales for the group were up 90.9%, thanks in no minor part to recent acquisition of Zale, which was completed in 2014. Excluding the new group member, Signet's online retail sales increased by 20%. 

Mark Light, Signet CEO, commented: "Our company performed well during the holiday period delivering increased same store sales across all divisions driven by the continued successful execution of our product, marketing and omnichannel strategies.

"This is particularly pleasing given the amount of change we have dealt with during the course of the fiscal year. Our UK division led our performance with an outstanding 9.7% comp increase – its best in 12 years and on top of a very strong comp last year."

Light suggested the results were driven by "fresh, trend-right merchandise offerings and strategic collaboration with the Sterling division", adding that the business resisted deep promotions and protected profitability which has helped enable Signet to reaffirm its financial guidance for the fourth quarter.

New tech horizons as Signet appoints first CIO

Earlier this week, Daniel Shull joined Signet as its first CIO. The new recruit will take responsibility for Signet's IT systems across its three divisions and will work to ensure IT solutions and investments are aligned with the organisation's multichannel vision.

Commenting at the end of 2014 when the appointment was announced, CEO Light said: "Dan will help us continue to identify new and groundbreaking ways to serve our guests and expand our initiatives.

"He is an innovative thinker with a dynamic, multifaceted background in retail and IT. We are all very excited for Dan to join the team at Signet and look forward to him contributing to our success and growth."

Shull has joined Signet after more than seven years at sports equipment brand Nike, where he held senior IT leadership roles including global retail CIO. Most recently he was VP for strategy, architecture and portfolio for the group.