The UK division is managed in pounds sterling, as sales and the majority of operating expenses are both incurred in that currency, and its results are then translated into US dollars for external reporting purposes. The following information for the UK division is given in pounds sterling as management believes that this presentation assists in the understanding of the performance of the UK division. Movements in the US dollar to pound sterling exchange rate therefore may have an impact on the results of Signet, particularly in periods of exchange rate volatility. See Item 6 of the Annual Report Form 10-K for analysis of results at constant exchange rates; non-GAAP measures.
The UK market includes specialty retail jewelers and general retailers who sell jewelry and watches, such as catalog showrooms, department stores, supermarkets, mail order catalogs, and internet based retailers. The retail jewelry market is very fragmented and competitive, with a substantial number of independent specialty jewelry retailers. Management believes there are approximately 5,400 specialty retail jewelry stores in the UK as of December 2012, broadly similar to the prior year (source: Local Data Company).
In the middle market, H.Samuel competes with a large number of independent jewelers, only one of which has more than 100 stores. Some competition, at the lower end of the H.Samuel product range, also comes from a catalog showroom operator, discount jewelry retailers and supermarkets, some of whom have more stores than H.Samuel.
In the upper middle market, Ernest Jones competes with independent specialty retailers and a limited number of other upper middle market chains, the largest three of which had 119, 64 and 37 stores, respectively, at February 2, 2013.