Online sales fell short of Signet’s projections during the holidays due to underperforming upgrades to its Sterling Jewelers’ sites.

Upgrades made in early 2016 to the e-commerce platform for Signet Jewelers Ltd.’s Sterling Jewelers division proved costly during the holidays, company officials say.

Signet, No. 122 in the Internet Retailer 2016 Top 500 Guide, reported a holiday online sales decline of 2.4% to $142.5 million from $146.0 million year over year. Total sales for the holiday period of November-December fell 5.1% to $1.941 billion from $2.045 billion in 2015. E-commerce accounted for 7.3% of sales during the holidays compared with 7.1% last year.

E-commerce growth underperformed during the holiday season, Signet CEO Mark Light said this week in announcing the company’s holiday sales performance, though neither he nor a spokesman specified what Signet’s holiday e-commerce projections were or by how much they missed their mark.

Signet attributes 2016’s lackluster holiday sales on upgrades made in early 2016 to Sterling Jewelers’ e-commerce platform that were unable to handle the holiday traffic load. Traffic to more than doubled from November to December, growing to 235,556 visitors in December, up 139% from 98,724 visitors in November, according to data from web traffic measurement firm SimilarWeb. December’s traffic also was nearly double the monthly average of 119,078 visitors from July through December.

“Recent Sterling e-commerce platform enhancements did not perform to expectations when exposed to high holiday volume, resulting in customer communications issues and purchasing disruptions,” a company spokesman says. “From a technical perspective, we have made changes to improve the customer experience on the Sterling division platform with regard to site speed, customer care experience and personalization in order to deliver for Valentine’s Day. We will address site content, delivery, checkout, personalization, check out experiences and multiple related other elements.”


“We are investing and directing more resources to improve the functioning of the platform and the overall customer digital journey,” Light said.

According to and, uses IBM as its e-commerce platform and Big-IP as its web server.

Signet’s total web sales for 2015 were an Internet Retailer-estimated $283.6 million, up 3.1% from $275.0 million the year before, while its five-year compound annual growth rate was 32.4%, according to data. Its brands include Kay Jewelers, Jared The Galleria of Jewelry, Zales and Piercing Pagoda, among others.