Organization and critical accounting policies
Signet Jewelers Limited (“Signet” or the “Company”), a holding company incorporated in Bermuda, is the world’s largest retailer of diamond jewelry. The Company operates through its 100% owned subsidiaries with sales primarily in the US, UK and Canada. Signet manages its business as five reportable segments: the Sterling Jewelers division, the Zale division, which consists of the Zale Jewelry and Piercing Pagoda segments, the UK Jewelry division and Other. The “Other” reportable segment consists of all non-reportable segments, including subsidiaries involved in the purchasing and conversion of rough diamonds to polished stones and unallocated corporate administrative functions. See Note 4 for additional discussion of the Company’s segments.
Signet’s sales are seasonal, with the first quarter slightly exceeding 20% of annual sales, the second and third quarters each approximating 20% and the fourth quarter accounting for almost 40% of annual sales, with December being by far the most important month of the year. The “Holiday Season” consists of results for the months of November and December. As a result, approximately 45% to 55% of Signet’s annual operating income normally occurs in the fourth quarter, comprised of nearly all of the UK Jewelry and Zale divisions’ annual operating income and about 40% to 45% of the Sterling Jewelers division’s annual operating income.
The Company has evaluated events and transactions for potential recognition or disclosure through the date the financial statements were issued. There are no material related party transactions. The following accounting policies have been applied consistently in the preparation of the Company’s financial statements.
(a) Basis of preparation
The consolidated financial statements of Signet are prepared in accordance with US generally accepted accounting principles (“US GAAP”) and include the results for the 52 week period ended January 30, 2016 (“Fiscal 2016”), as Signet’s fiscal year ends on the Saturday nearest to January 31. The comparative periods are for the 52 week period ended January 31, 2015 (“Fiscal 2015”) and the 52 week period ended February 1, 2014 (“Fiscal 2014”). Intercompany transactions and balances have been eliminated in consolidation. Certain prior year amounts have been reclassified to conform to the current year presentation.
(b) Use of estimates
The preparation of these consolidated financial statements, in conformity with US GAAP and SEC regulations, requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets and liabilities, disclosure of contingent assets and liabilities at the date of the consolidated financial statements and reported amounts of revenues and expenses during the reported period. Actual results could differ from those estimates. Estimates and assumptions are primarily made in relation to the valuation of accounts receivables, inventories, deferred revenue, derivatives, employee benefits, income taxes, contingencies, asset impairments, depreciation and amortization of long-lived assets as well as accounting for business combinations.
The reported results of operations are not indicative of results expected in future periods.
(c) Foreign currency translation
The financial position and operating results of certain foreign operations, including the UK Jewelry division and the Canadian operations of the Zale Jewelry segment, are consolidated using the local currency as the functional currency. Assets and liabilities are translated at the rates of exchange on the balance sheet date, and revenues and expenses are translated at the monthly average rates of exchange during the period. Resulting translation gains or losses are included in the accompanying consolidated statements of shareholders’ equity as a component of accumulated other comprehensive income (loss) (“AOCI”). Gains or losses resulting from foreign currency transactions are included within the consolidated income statements, whereas translation adjustments and gains or losses related to intercompany loans of a long-term investment nature are recognized as a component of AOCI.
See Note 7 for additional discussion of the Company’s foreign currency translation.
(d) Revenue recognition
The Company recognizes revenue when there is persuasive evidence of an arrangement, delivery of products has occurred or services have been rendered, the sale price is fixed and determinable, and collectability is reasonably assured. The Company’s revenue streams and their respective accounting treatments are discussed below.
Merchandise sale and repairs
Store sales are recognized when the customer receives and pays for the merchandise at the store with cash, in-house customer finance, private label credit card programs or a third party credit card. For online sales shipped to customers, sales are recognized at the estimated time the customer has received the merchandise. Amounts related to shipping and handling that are billed to customers are reflected in sales and the related costs are reflected in cost of sales. Revenues on the sale of merchandise are reported net of anticipated returns and sales tax collected. Returns are estimated based on previous return rates experienced. Any deposits received from a customer for merchandise are deferred and recognized as revenue when the customer receives the merchandise. Revenues derived from providing replacement merchandise on behalf of insurance organizations are recognized upon receipt of the merchandise by the customer. Revenues on repair of merchandise are recognized when the service is complete and the customer collects the merchandise at the store.
Extended service plans and lifetime warranty agreements (“ESP”)
The Company recognizes revenue related to lifetime warranty sales in proportion to when the expected costs will be incurred. The deferral period for lifetime warranty sales in each division is determined from patterns of claims costs, including estimates of future claims costs expected to be incurred. Management reviews the trends in claims to assess whether changes are required to the revenue and cost recognition rates utilized. A significant change in estimates related to the time period or pattern in which warranty-related costs are expected to be incurred could materially impact revenues. All direct costs associated with the sale of these plans are deferred and amortized in proportion to the revenue recognized and disclosed as either other current assets or other assets.
The Sterling Jewelers division sells extended service plans, subject to certain conditions, to perform repair work over the life of the product. Revenue from the sale of these lifetime extended service plans is recognized consistent with the estimated pattern of claim costs expected to be incurred by the Company in connection with performing under the extended service plan obligations. Based on an evaluation of historical claims data, management currently estimates that substantially all claims will be incurred within 17 years of the sale of the warranty contract.
In the second quarter of Fiscal 2016, an operational change related to the Sterling Jewelers division’s extended service plans associated with ring sizing was made to further align Zale and Sterling ESP policies. As a result, revenue from the sale of these lifetime extended service plans in the Sterling Jewelers division is deferred and recognized over 17 years for all plans, with approximately 57% of revenue recognized within the first two years for plans sold on or after May 2, 2015 and 42% of revenue recognized within the first two years for plans sold prior to May 2, 2015 (January 31, 2015: 45%; February 1, 2014: 45%).
The Zale division also sells extended service plans. Zale Jewelry customers are offered lifetime warranties on certain products that cover sizing and breakage with an option to purchase theft protection for a two-year period. Revenue from the sale of lifetime extended service plans is deferred and recognized over 10 years, with approximately 69% of revenue recognized within the first two years (January 31, 2015: 69%). Revenues related to the optional theft protection are deferred and recognized in proportion to when the expected claims costs will be incurred over the two-year contract period. Zale Jewelry customers are also offered a two-year watch warranty and a one-year warranty that covers breakage. Piercing Pagoda customers are also offered a one-year warranty that covers breakage. Revenue from the two-year watch warranty and one-year breakage warranty is recognized on a straight-line basis over the respective contract terms.
The Sterling Jewelers division also sells a Jewelry Replacement Plan (“JRP”). The JRP is designed to protect customers from damage or defects of purchased merchandise for a period of three years. If the purchased merchandise is defective or becomes damaged under normal use in that time period, the item will be replaced. JRP revenue is deferred and recognized on a straight-line basis over the period of expected claims costs.
Signet also sells warranty agreements in the capacity of an agent on behalf of a third-party. The commission that Signet receives from the third-party is recognized at the time of sale less an estimate of cancellations based on historical experience.
Certain promotional offers award sale vouchers to customers who make purchases above a certain value, which grant a fixed discount on a future purchase within a stated time frame. The Company accounts for such vouchers by allocating the fair value of the voucher between the initial purchase and the future purchase using the relative-selling-price method. Sale vouchers are not sold on a stand-alone basis. The fair value of the voucher is determined based on the average sales transactions in which the vouchers were issued, when the vouchers are expected to be redeemed and the estimated voucher redemption rate. The fair value allocated to the future purchase is recorded as deferred revenue.
Consignment inventory sales
Sales of consignment inventory are accounted for on a gross sales basis as the Company is the primary obligor providing independent advice, guidance and after-sales service to customers. The products sold from consignment inventory are indistinguishable from other products that are sold to customers and are sold on the same terms. Supplier products are selected at the discretion of the Company. The Company is responsible for determining the selling price, physical security of the products and collections of accounts receivable.
(e) Cost of sales and selling, general and administrative expenses
Cost of sales includes merchandise costs net of discounts and allowances, freight, processing and distribution costs of moving merchandise from suppliers to distribution centers and stores, inventory shrinkage, store operating and occupancy costs, net bad debts and charges for late payments under the in-house customer finance programs. Store operating and occupancy costs include utilities, rent, real estate taxes, common area maintenance charges and depreciation. Selling, general and administrative expenses include store staff and store administrative costs; centralized administrative expenses, including information technology, credit and eCommerce; advertising and promotional costs and other operating expenses not specifically categorized elsewhere in the consolidated income statements.
Compensation and benefits costs included within cost of sales and selling, general and administrative expenses were as follows:
Wages and salaries
Employee benefit plans expense
Share-based compensation expense
Total compensation and benefits
(f ) Store opening costs
The opening costs of new locations are expensed as incurred.
(g) Advertising and promotional costs
Advertising and promotional costs are expensed within selling, general and administrative expenses. Production costs are expensed at the first communication of the advertisements, while communication expenses are recognized each time the advertisement is communicated. For catalogs and circulars, costs are all expensed at the first date they can be viewed by the customer. Point of sale promotional material is expensed when first displayed in the stores. Gross advertising costs totaled $384.2 million in Fiscal 2016 (Fiscal 2015: $333.0 million; Fiscal 2014: $253.8 million).
(h) In-house customer finance programs
Sterling Jewelers division operates customer in-house finance programs that allow customers to finance merchandise purchases from its stores. Finance charges are recognized in accordance with the contractual agreements. Gross interest earned is recorded as other operating income in the consolidated income statements. See Note 9 for additional discussion of the Company’s other operating income. In addition to interest-bearing accounts, a portion of credit sales are made using interest-free financing for one year or less, subject to certain conditions.
Accrual of interest is suspended when accounts become more than 90 days aged on a recency basis. Upon suspension of the accrual of interest, interest income is subsequently recognized to the extent cash payments are received. Accrual of interest is resumed when receivables are removed from the non-accrual status.
(i) Income taxes
Income taxes are accounted for using the asset and liability method, which requires the recognition of deferred tax assets and liabilities for the expected future tax consequences of events that have been included in the consolidated financial statements. Under this method, deferred tax assets and liabilities are recognized by applying statutory tax rates in effect in the years in which the differences between the financial reporting and tax filing bases of existing assets and liabilities are expected to reverse. The effect of a change in tax rates on deferred tax assets and liabilities is recognized in income in the period that includes the enactment date. A valuation allowance is established against deferred tax assets when it is more likely than not that some portion or all of the deferred tax assets will not be realized.
The Company does not recognize tax benefits related to positions taken on certain tax matters unless the position is more likely than not to be sustained upon examination by tax authorities. At any point in time, various tax years are subject to or are in the process of being audited by various taxing authorities. The Company records a reserve for uncertain tax positions, including interest. To the extent that management’s estimates of settlements change, or the final tax outcome of these matters is different than the amounts recorded, such differences will impact the income tax provision in the period in which such determinations are made.
See Note 8 for additional discussion of the Company’s income taxes.
(j) Cash and cash equivalents
Cash and cash equivalents are comprised of cash on hand, money market deposits and amounts placed with external fund managers with an original maturity of three months or less. Cash and cash equivalents are carried at cost which approximates fair value. In addition, receivables from third-party credit card issuers typically converted to cash within 5 days of the original sales transaction are considered cash equivalents.
Additional detail regarding the composition of cash and cash equivalents as of January 30, 2016 and January 31, 2015 follows:
January 30, 2016
January 31, 2015
Cash and cash equivalents held in money markets and other accounts
Cash equivalents from third-party credit card issuers
Cash on hand
Total cash and cash equivalents
(k) Accounts receivable
Accounts receivable under the customer finance programs are presented net of an allowance for uncollectible amounts. This allowance represents management’s estimate of the expected losses in the accounts receivable portfolio as of the balance sheet date, and is calculated using a model that analyzes factors such as delinquency rates and recovery rates. An allowance for amounts 90 days aged and under on a recency basis is established based on historical loss experience and payment performance information. A 100% allowance is made for any amount aged more than 90 days on a recency basis and any amount associated with an account the owner of which has filed for bankruptcy.
Signet’s recency method of aging has been in place and unchanged since the inception of the in-house consumer financing program. The delinquency level is measured by the number of days since the last qualifying payment was received, with the qualifying payment increasing with delinquency level. The average minimum scheduled payment on a customer account is 9%. The minimum payment does not decline as the balance declines. These two facts combined (higher scheduled payment requirement and no decline in payment requirement as balance decreases) allow Signet to collect on the receivable significantly faster than other retail/bank card accounts, reducing risk and more quickly freeing up customer open to buy for additional purchases.
See Note 10 for additional discussion of the Company’s accounts receivables.
Inventories are primarily held for resale and are valued at the lower of cost or market value. Cost is determined using weighted-average cost for all inventories except for inventories held in the Company’s diamond sourcing operations where cost is determined using specific identification. Cost includes charges directly related to bringing inventory to its present location and condition. Such charges would include warehousing, security, distribution and certain buying costs. Market value is defined as estimated selling price less all estimated costs of completion and costs to be incurred in marketing, selling and distribution. Inventory write-downs are recorded for obsolete, slow moving or defective items and shrinkage. Inventory write-downs are equal to the difference between the cost of inventory and its estimated market value based upon assumptions of targeted inventory turn rates, future demand, management strategy and market conditions. Shrinkage is estimated and recorded based on historical physical inventory results, expectations of future inventory losses and current inventory levels. Physical inventories are taken at least once annually for all store locations and distribution centers.
See Note 11 for additional discussion of the Company’s inventories.
(m) Vendor contributions
Contributions are received from vendors through various programs and arrangements including cooperative advertising. Where vendor contributions related to identifiable promotional events are received, contributions are matched against the costs of promotions. Vendor contributions, which are received as general contributions and not related to specific promotional events, are recognized as a reduction of inventory costs.
(n) Property, plant and equipment
Property, plant and equipment are stated at cost less accumulated depreciation, amortization and impairment charges. Maintenance and repair costs are expensed as incurred. Depreciation and amortization are recognized on the straight-line method over the estimated useful lives of the related assets as follows:
30 – 40 years when land is owned or the remaining term of lease, not to exceed 40 years
Remaining term of lease, not to exceed 10 years
Furniture and fixtures
Ranging from 3 – 10 years
Equipment, including software
Ranging from 3 – 5 years
Equipment, which includes computer software purchased or developed for internal use, is stated at cost less accumulated amortization. Signet’s policy provides for the capitalization of external direct costs of materials and services associated with developing or obtaining internal use computer software. In addition, Signet also capitalizes certain payroll and payroll-related costs for employees directly associated with internal use computer projects. Amortization is charged on a straight-line basis over periods from three to five years.
Property, plant and equipment are reviewed for impairment whenever events or circumstances indicate that the carrying amount of an asset may not be recoverable. Potentially impaired assets or asset groups are identified by reviewing the cash flows of individual stores. Recoverability of assets to be held and used is measured by a comparison of the carrying amount of an asset to estimated undiscounted future cash flows expected to be generated by the asset. If the undiscounted cash flow is less than the asset’s carrying amount, the impairment charge recognized is determined by estimating the fair value of the assets and recording a loss for the amount that the carrying value exceeds the estimated fair value. Property and equipment at stores planned for closure are depreciated over a revised estimate of their useful lives.
See Note 12 for additional discussion of the Company’s property, plant and equipment.
(o) Goodwill and intangibles
In a business combination, the Company estimates and records the fair value of identifiable intangible assets and liabilities acquired. The fair value of these intangible assets and liabilities is estimated based on management’s assessment, including determination of appropriate valuation technique and consideration of any third party appraisals, when necessary. Significant estimates in valuing intangible assets and liabilities acquired include, but are not limited to, future expected cash flows associated with the acquired asset or liability, expected life and discount rates. The excess purchase price over the estimated fair values of the assets acquired and liabilities assumed is recognized as goodwill. Goodwill is recorded by the Company’s reporting units based on the acquisitions made by each. Goodwill is evaluated for impairment annually and more frequently if indicators of impairment arise. In evaluating goodwill for impairment, the Company first assesses qualitative factors to determine whether it is more likely than not (that is, likelihood of more than 50 percent) that the fair value of a reporting unit is less than its carrying value (including goodwill). If the Company concludes that it is not more likely than not that the fair value of a reporting unit is less than its carrying value, then no further testing is required. However, if the Company concludes that it is more likely than not that the fair value of a reporting unit is less than its carrying value, then the two-step goodwill impairment test is performed to identify a potential goodwill impairment and measure the amount of impairment to be recognized, if any.
The annual testing date for goodwill allocated to the Sterling Jewelers reporting unit is the last day of the fourth quarter. The annual testing date for goodwill allocated to the reporting units associated with the Zale division acquisition and the Other reporting unit is May 31. There have been no goodwill impairment charges recorded during the fiscal periods presented in the consolidated financial statements. If future economic conditions are different than those projected by management, future impairment charges may be required.
Intangible assets with definite lives are amortized and reviewed for impairment whenever events or circumstances indicate that the carrying amount of the asset may not be recoverable. If the estimated undiscounted future cash flows related to the asset are less than the carrying amount, the Company recognizes an impairment charge equal to the difference between the carrying value and the estimated fair value, usually determined by the estimated discounted future cash flows of the asset.
Intangible assets with indefinite lives are reviewed for impairment each year in the second quarter and may be reviewed more frequently if certain events occur or circumstances change. The Company first performs a qualitative assessment to determine whether it is more likely than not that the indefinite-lived intangible asset is impaired. If the Company determines that it is more likely than not that the fair value of the asset is less than its carrying amount, the Company estimates the fair value, usually determined by the estimated discounted future cash flows of the asset, compares that value with its carrying amount and records an impairment charge, if any. If future economic conditions are different than those projected by management, future impairment charges may be required.
See Note 13 for additional discussion of the Company’s goodwill and intangibles.
(p) Derivatives and hedge accounting
The Company enters into various types of derivative instruments to mitigate certain risk exposures related to changes in commodity costs and foreign exchange rates. Derivative instruments are recorded in the consolidated balance sheets at fair value, as either assets or liabilities, with an offset to net income or other comprehensive income (“OCI”), depending on whether the derivative qualifies as an effective hedge.
If a derivative instrument meets certain criteria, it may be designated as a cash flow hedge on the date it is entered into. For cash flow hedge transactions, the effective portion of the changes in fair value of the derivative instrument is recognized directly in equity as a component of AOCI and is recognized in the consolidated income statements in the same period(s) and on the same financial statement line in which the hedged item affects net income. Amounts excluded from the effectiveness calculation and any ineffective portions of the change in fair value of the derivatives are recognized immediately in other operating income, net in the consolidated income statements. In addition, gains and losses on derivatives that do not qualify for hedge accounting are recognized immediately in other operating income, net.
In the normal course of business, the Company may terminate cash flow hedges prior to the occurrence of the underlying forecasted transaction. For cash flow hedges terminated prior to the occurrence of the underlying forecasted transaction, management monitors the probability of the associated forecasted cash flow transactions to assess whether any gain or loss recorded in AOCI should be immediately recognized in net income. Cash flows from derivative contracts are included in net cash provided by operating activities.
See Note 16 for additional discussion of the Company’s derivatives and hedge activities.
(q) Employee Benefits
Signet operates a defined benefit pension plan in the UK (the “UK Plan”) which ceased to admit new employees effective April 2004. The UK Plan provides benefits to participating eligible employees. Beginning in Fiscal 2014, a change to the benefit structure was implemented and members’ benefits that accumulate after that date are now based upon career average salaries, whereas previously, all benefits were based on salaries at retirement. The UK Plan’s assets are held by the UK Plan.
The net periodic pension cost of the UK Plan is measured on an actuarial basis using the projected unit credit method and several actuarial assumptions, the most significant of which are the discount rate and the expected long-term rate of return on plan assets. Other material assumptions include rates of participant mortality, the expected long-term rate of compensation and pension increases, and rates of employee attrition. Gains and losses occur when actual experience differs from actuarial assumptions. If such gains or losses exceed 10% of the greater of plan assets or plan liabilities, Signet amortizes those gains or losses over the average remaining service period of the employees. The net periodic pension cost is charged to selling, general and administrative expenses in the consolidated income statements.
The funded status of the UK Plan is recognized on the balance sheet, and is the difference between the fair value of plan assets and the benefit obligation measured at the balance sheet date. Gains or losses and prior service costs or credits that arise and not included as components of net periodic pension cost are recognized, net of tax, in OCI.
Signet also operates a defined contribution plan in the UK and a defined contribution retirement savings plan in the US. Contributions made by Signet to these pension arrangements are charged primarily to selling, general and administrative expenses in the consolidated income statements as incurred.
See Note 18 for additional discussion of the Company’s employee benefits.
(r) Borrowing costs
Borrowings include interest-bearing bank loans, accounts receivable securitization program and bank overdrafts. Borrowing costs are capitalized and amortized into interest expense over the contractual term of the related loan.
See Note 19 for additional discussion of the Company’s borrowing costs.
(s) Share-based compensation
Signet measures share-based compensation cost for awards classified as equity at the grant date based on the estimated fair value of the award and recognizes the cost as an expense on a straight-line basis (net of estimated forfeitures) over the requisite service period of employees. Certain share plans include a condition whereby vesting is contingent on growth exceeding a given target, and therefore awards granted with this condition are considered to be performance-based awards.
Signet estimates fair value using a Black-Scholes model for awards granted under the Omnibus Plan and the binomial valuation model for awards granted under the Share Saving Plans. Deferred tax assets for awards that result in deductions on the income tax returns of subsidiaries are recorded by Signet based on the amount of compensation cost recognized and the subsidiaries’ statutory tax rate in the jurisdiction in which it will receive a deduction. Differences between the deferred tax assets recognized for financial reporting purposes and the actual tax deduction reported on the subsidiaries’ income tax return are recorded in additional paid-in-capital (if the tax deduction exceeds the deferred tax asset) or in the income statement (if the deferred tax asset exceeds the tax deduction and no additional paid-in-capital exists from previous awards).
Share-based compensation is primarily recorded in selling, general and administrative expenses in the consolidated income statements, along with the relevant salary cost.
See Note 23 for additional discussion of the Company’s share-based compensation plans.
(t) Contingent liabilities
Provisions for contingent liabilities are recorded for probable losses when management is able to reasonably estimate the loss or range of loss. When it is reasonably possible that a contingent liability may result in a loss or additional loss, the range of the loss is disclosed.
See Note 24 for additional discussion of the Company’s contingencies.
Signet’s operating leases generally include retail store locations. Certain operating leases include predetermined rent increases, which are charged to the income statement on a straight-line basis over the lease term, including any construction period or other rental holiday. Other amounts paid under operating leases, such as contingent rentals, taxes and common area maintenance, are charged to the income statement as incurred. Premiums paid to acquire short-term leasehold properties and inducements to enter into a lease are recognized on a straight-line basis over the lease term. In addition, certain leases provide for contingent rentals that are not measurable at inception. These contingent rentals are primarily based on a percentage of sales in excess of a predetermined level. These amounts are excluded from minimum rent and are included in the determination of rent expense when it is probable that the expense has been incurred and the amount is reasonably estimable.
See Note 24 for additional discussion of the Company’s leases.
(v) Common shares
New shares are recorded in common shares at their par value when issued. The excess of the issue price over the par value is recorded in additional paid-in capital.
Dividends are reflected as a reduction of retained earnings in the period in which they are formally declared by the Board of Directors (the “Board”).