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Signet Jewelers 4Q profit rises 10 percent

NEW YORK (AP) -- Signet Jewelers Ltd.'s fiscal fourth-quarter net income climbed 10 percent, helped by an acquisition and as customers made more purchases at its U.S. Kay and Jared jewelry stores.

The performance topped Wall Street's view, although Signet's outlook for the current quarter was mostly below analysts' forecast. The company also raised its quarterly dividend by 3 cents, to 15 cents per share.

For the period ended Feb. 2, Signet earned $171.8 million, or $2.12 per share. That's up from $156.6 million, or $1.79 per share, a year earlier. Analysts surveyed by FactSet expected earnings of $2.09 per share.

Revenue in the 14-week period rose 12 percent to $1.51 billion, from $1.35 billion in the 13 weeks the year before. Wall Street forecast $1.49 billion in revenue. The company got a boost from its $57 million acquisition of the Ultra jewelry store chain, which closed in November.

Revenue at stores open at least a year increased 3.5 percent. This metric is a key indicator of a retailer's health because it excludes results from stores recently opened or closed. Online sales rose 47 percent, to $63.9 million.

In the U.S., revenue at stores open at least a year rose 4.9 percent. The company's smaller U.K. division was weaker, with the measure falling 1.9 percent. Fewer customers went to stores, and they bought more of Signet's discounted merchandise.

For the year, profit rose 11 percent to $359.9 million, or $4.35 per share. Revenue increased 6 percent to $3.98 billion. Revenue at stores open at least a year rose 3.3 percent.

For the current quarter, Signet anticipates earnings between $1.07 and $1.12 per share — analysts expect $1.12 per share. The company expects revenue at stores open at least a year is expected to rise 5 percent to 7 percent.

Also on Thursday, Signet said it's raising its dividend by 3 cents, or 25 percent, to 15 cents per share. The dividend will be paid on May 29 to shareholders of record on May 3.

Signet shares were inactive in premarket trading Thursday. They have risen 29 percent over the past 12 months.