By  on March 27, 2014

Shares of Signet Jewelers Ltd. rose 5.6 percent in morning trading Thursday as the operator of the Kay and Jared chains exceeded fourth-quarter earnings expectations and raised its quarterly dividend.

The company reiterated its projection that its acquisition of Zale Corp. for $1.4 billion in cash, subject to Zale shareholder approval and other conditions, would be concluded by the end of the calendar year.

In the three months ended Feb. 1, the firm generated net income of $175.2 million, or $2.18 a diluted share, 2 percent above the $171.7 million, or $2.12, posted in the fourth quarter of 2012. The EPS number was 3 cents above the consensus estimate of analysts.

Revenues in the quarter rose 3.4 percent to $1.56 billion from $1.51 billion, with comparable-store sales up 4.3 percent and e-commerce ahead 23.6 percent to $79 million. Gross margin pulled back to 41.5 percent of sales from 42.1 percent in the year-ago period.


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