Shares of Signet Jewelers Ltd. blasted off Thursday, toward their biggest one-day gain since the early-1990s, after a strong holiday performance helped flip the fourth-quarter sales outlook to growth from a decline.
The company, which retail store brands include Kay Jewelers, Zales and Jared, said total same-store sales for the nine-weeks ended Jan. 4 rose 1.6% above year-ago levels, as 13.5% growth in digital sales helped offset a 0.2% decline in brick-and-mortar sales.
Among the self-proclaimed world’s largest diamond jewelry retailer’s SIG, +42.39% store brands, holiday-period same-store sales rose 0.2% for Kay, increased 5.4% for Zales, fell 3.5% for Jared, grew 6.9% for Piercing Pagoda, jumped 26.9% for James Allen and were up 4.5% for Peoples.
As a result, Signet said it now expects same-store sales for the fiscal fourth quarter, which ends in January, to be up 0.1%, compared with the guidance range provided on Dec. 5 of down 4.0% to 2.0%. Net sales are now expected to be $2.12 billion, above previous guidance of $2.03 billion to $2.07 billion.
The stock rocketed 40.7% on heavy volume in midday trading Thursday. That would be the biggest one-day percentage gain since it rose 42.9% on Oct. 13, 1992, according to FactSet data. Trading volume swelled to 15.7 million shares, compared with the full-day average of about 2.5 million shares.
Signet also raised its guidance for net earnings per share to $3.42 to $3.56 from $2.99 to $3.26, and for adjusted EPS to $3.44 to $3.52 of from $3.01 to $3.16. The FactSet consensus for adjusted EPS was $3.26.
“Product newness, investments in our digital capabilities, and more targeted marketing campaigns drove both e-commerce and brick and mortar growth in North America,” said Chief Executive Virginia Drosos.
In North America, same-store sales grew 2.0%, as growth in bridal and fashion offset declines in beads and watches. E-Commerce sales rose 13.3% and brick-and-mortar same-store sales increased 0.4%.
Signet’s surprisingly strong performance comes after a disappointing holiday-period sales reports from a number of retailers, including Target Corp. TGT, -0.71% , GameStop Corp. GME, -1.74% , Victoria’s Secret-parent L Brands Inc. LB, +1.97% , Macy’s Inc. M, +0.60% and Kohl’s Corp. KSS, -0.15%
Signet’s stock, which is headed for the highest close in a year, had now nearly tripled (up 175%) since it closed at a 10-year low of $11.01 on Sept. 4, 2019, which was a far cry from the Oct. 30, 2015 record close of $150.94. Read more about Signet’s fiscal third-quarter results.
After the stock lost 31.6% in 2019, to extend its record yearly losing streak to five years, it started 2020 with a 12.9% plunge, after Wells Fargo analyst Ike Boruchow turned bearish, citing expectations of a continued decline in consumer interest.
It has now run up 39.1% year to date, while the SPDR S&P Retail exchange-traded fund XRT, +1.22% has slipped 0.5% and the S&P 500 index SPX, +0.55% has edged up 2.3%.