: Signet expects the number of weddings in 2022 to hit a 40-year high

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Wedding bells are ringing at a record rate, according to Signet Jewelers Ltd., which identified the trend as a tailwind for the retailer in 2022.

“We expect more weddings this year than we’ve seen in nearly 40 years,” said Chief Executive Gina Drosos on the earnings call, according to a FactSet transcript.

“Bridal is an important part of our business, of course, but it’s much more than engagement rings. The average couple buys their wedding bands two months ahead of the wedding and wedding days give us an opportunity to provide jewelry for the bride and groom, bridesmaids, and mother of the bride and guests attending the wedding.”

Drosos even sees opportunity among the guests who are dating since “dating couples who attend a wedding together are among the most likely to get engaged shortly afterwards.”

Signet reported fourth-quarter sales that beat expectations on Thursday, gave upbeat guidance and raised its dividend. Signet’s lineup includes Zales, Banter by Piercing Pagoda, JamesAllen.com and other names.

On the earnings call, Chief Executive Gina Drosos said the company has repurchased more than $270 million in shares since mid-January and still has more than $400 million remaining in the program.

The stock soared 26% for the week.

Looking ahead, the company plans capital investments of $250 million on digital, store enhancements and data analytics.

Signet has suspended business with Russian-owned companies, but says its supply chain is prepared for pressure, including from inflation. And Drosos said the company is confident it can deliver “sustainable double-digit operating margins.” Drosos was upbeat about Valentine’s Day and says trends have remained strong.

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“The largest bear case developing in the stock seems to have been shut down today — with quarter-to-date remaining very strong (during a key selling period, Valentine’s Day) we believe it shows that a weakening low-end consumer doesn’t take the Signet bull case off the rails,” wrote Wells Fargo in a note.

Wells Fargo rates Signet stock overweight with a $140 price target.

Signet stock has rallied 35% over the past year while the S&P 500 index SPX, +1.17% is up nearly 14% for the period.

This article was originally published by Marketwatch.com. Read the original article here.

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