Shares of Signet climb on earnings beat; company forms committee focused on 'respect in the workforce'

Mark Light
Jason Merritt | Getty Images

Shares of Signet Jewelers climbed more than 8 percent Thursday, after the company reported fiscal fourth-quarter earnings that topped Wall Street's expectations.

The jeweler also announced the formation of a new committee focused on "respect in the workforce," particularly as it relates to women. The introduction of that committee comes roughly a week after The Washington Post reported on allegations of sexual harassment and discrimination made by hundreds of men and women in a class-action arbitration case against the firm.

Signet has denied any wrongdoing, saying in a February statement that it has "thoroughly investigated the allegations and have concluded they are not substantiated by the facts and certainly do not reflect our culture."

Shares of Signet, which owns the Kay, Zales and Jared brands, tumbled following the news. Even with Thursday's uptick, the stock is down more than 35 percent over the past 12 months, and more than 25 percent so far this year.

"We do not tolerate discrimination or harassment of any kind and we want to be sure that the framework we have in place for reporting, and responding to any such issues is robust and effective," Signet Chairman Todd Stitzer said in a statement.

The new board committee will focus on programs and policies to support the development of female team members. Directors who will serve on the committee include Assurex Health CEO Virginia Drosos, former CFO of International Paper Company Marianne Miller Parrs, and former CEO of The Warnaco Group Helen McCluskey.

Signet reported adjusted earnings per share of $4.03 for the holiday quarter, topping a Thomson Reuters estimate calling for $4 a share. Its quarterly sales came in shy of the $2.3 billion expected by Reuters, at $2.27 billion.

Quarterly same-store sales declined 4.5 percent, which Signet attributed to a "challenging retail environment and weak mall traffic." That was roughly in line with a FactSet estimate.

The company expects fiscal 2018 to be another challenging year and issued an initial outlook that fell shy of Wall Street's expectations.

Signet year-to-date performance

Source: FactSet