Signet Jewelers topped fourth-quarter profit projections and upped its quarterly dividend, driving the firm’s stock  7.6 percent in early trading on Wall Street today.

Earnings rose 9.7 percent to $171.8 million, or $2.12 a diluted share, from $156.6 million, or $1.79, a year earlier.

Profits came in 3 cents better than the $2.09 analysts projected. Investors traded the stock up $4.81 to $68.08.


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Sales for the 14 weeks ended Feb. 2 increased 11.8 percent to $1.51 billion from $1.35 billion. The most-recent quarter benefited from an extra week versus the year-ago period. Comparble-store sales, which strip away the extra week, rose 3.5 percent.

Earnings for the year rose 10.9 percent to $359.9 million, or $4.35 a diluted share, as sales increased 6.2 percent to $3.98 billion with a comp sales rise of 3.3 percent.

The company’s Kay division posted the strongest comp sales gains for the year, rising 6.4 percent. The Jared chain comped up 1.6 percent. In Britain, Ernest Jones comped up 0.3 percent and H. Samuel posted a 0.2 percent comp rise.

“Our priorities remain focused on building outstanding relationships and loyalty, as we provide customers with outstanding service and differentiated and compelling assortments and brands,” said Mike Barnes, chief executive officer. “We will continue to advance our expansion goals as we integrate our recently acquired Ultra stores, execute on our multi-channel growth initiatives and expand our store base.”

The company boosted its quarterly cash dividend to 15 cents a share from 12 cents.

In the first quarter, Signet expects diluted earnings per share of $1.07 to $1.12 and same-store sales gains of 5 percent to 7 percent.