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Cost cutting at Signet makes its profits sparkle

Top jewellery retailer Signet Jewellers reported a higher quarterly profit yesterday as cost-cutting offset weak jewellery sales.<br /><br />The company, which runs Ernest Jones and H Samuel in Britain, said its initiatives to improve operational efficiency also helped it gain market share in the quarter.<br /><br />Signet reported a net profit of $26.3m (&pound;16.4m) for the first quarter that ended 2 May, compared with $25.7m, a year earlier.<br /><br />Sales at the retailer of gold, silver, diamond and gemstone jewellery, watches, collectibles and gifts fell 7.3 per cent to $762.6m.<br /><br />In March, Signet announced plans to cut costs, delay new store openings and reduce its net debt by around $20m this fiscal year.<br /><br />Chief executive Terry Burman said: &ldquo;We have had a good start to the year and have made significant progress towards achieving our financial objectives for fiscal 2010.&rdquo;