March 27 (Reuters) - Signet Jewelers Ltd, the owner of the Kay Jewelers chain, on Thursday forecast more growth in same-store sales this new fiscal year, helped by its push into branded, exclusive jewelry.
Shares rose nearly 4 percent. Signet, which last month said it had reached a deal to buy smaller rival Zale Corp, expects sales at stores open at least a year to rise between 3 percent and 4 percent this new fiscal year.
For the quarter ended February 1, Signet's U.S. same-store sales rose 4 percent, helped by higher sales in brand-name, exclusive jewelry at its Kay chain.
At Signet's British chains, H. Samuel and Ernest Jones, which generate about one-sixth of revenue, business perked up and same-store sales rose 5.7 percent.
Signet reported net income of $175.2 million or $2.18 per share for the quarter, which included the holiday season, compared to a profit $171.8 million, or $2.12 per share last year. Total sales rose 3.4 percent to $1.56 billion.
Signet raised its quarterly dividend 20 percent to 18 cents per share.
(Reporting by Phil Wahba in New York; Editing by Nick Zieminski)