Technical issues were a major problem.
Signet Jewelers Ltd. reported that its total sales decreased 5.1 percent for the nine weeks ended Dec. 31, compared with a 5.3 percent increase in the same period a year earlier.
The disappointing holiday results were driven mainly by underperformance in the company's Sterling division e-commerce business, Signet CEO Mark Light said.
"A preliminary view of market data suggests that the jewelry category was broadly flat to modestly down with in-store sales down mid-single-digits and e-commerce sales up double-digits," he said. "Signet’s in-store results were in-line with the jewerly market, but technical performance issues in Sterling’s e-commerce platform largely led to Signet’s lower-than-expected results."
He said the Sterling e-commerce problems were due to "recent enhancements that did not perform as expected when exposed to high holiday volume."
"We are investing and directing more resources to improve the functioning of the platform and the overall customer digital journey," Light said.
Signet's (NYSE: SIG) same store sales decreased 4.6 percent compared with an increase of 5.1 percent in the year-ago period. Total sales on a constant currency basis decreased 3.3 percent compared with an increase of 6.6 percent in the prior year.
Signet owns Zales, Jared and Kay jewelers.