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Signet reports sharp fall in sales over Xmas, but to meet profit hopes

LONDON, January 8, 2009 -- Anglo-American jewellery retailer Signet reported a sharp drop in sales over Christmas but forecast full-year profit in line with market expectations.

In a trading update, Signet said that in the nine weeks to January 3, 2009, same store group sales fell 15.2 percent, with the U.S. down 16.4 percent and the UK down 10.9 percent.

The group said it would not be paying a dividend.

"Profits for the full year are expected to be within the range of market forecasts despite an extremely challenging environment on both sides of the Atlantic," said Terry Burman, Group Chief Executive.