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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Zale Q4 Comps Up 5.6%, Revenue Loss Narrows to $8 Million

Comps at Zales Jewelers (pictured) and Zales Outlet increased 8.1%.

Fine jewelry retailer Zale Corp. said Wednesday that year-over-year revenues for the fourth quarter increased 2.4 percent to $417 million. Comparable store sales for the period increased 5.6 percent. This increase follows an 8.3 percent rise in the same period last year. At constant exchange rates, comparable store sales increased 5.8 percent.

Net loss in the fourth quarter for the company, which owns retail jewelry chains in the US, Canada and Puerto Rico, narrowed to $8 million, or 25 cents per share, compared to a net loss of $20 million, or 61 cents per share, in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2012.

Other fourth quarter highlights include:

* Zales branded stores, Zales Jewelers and Zales Outlet, posted a comparable store sales increase of 8.1 percent. This follows a 12.3 percent rise in the same period last year.

* U.S. fine jewelry brands, including Zales branded stores and regional brand, Gordon’s Jewelers, posted a comparable store sales increase of 7.2 percent. This follows an 11.2 percent rise in the same period last year.

* Peoples branded stores posted a comparable store sales increase of 5.6 percent. This follows a 4.7 percent rise in the same period last year. At constant exchange rates, comparable store sales increased 7 percent in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2013, following an increase of 9.9 percent in the same period last year.

* Canadian fine jewelry brands, Peoples Jewellers and Mappins Jewellers, posted a comparable store sales increase of 3.3 percent. This follows a 2 percent rise in the same period last year. At constant exchange rates, comparable store sales increased 4.7 percent in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2013, following an increase of 7.1 percent in the same period last year.

* Piercing Pagoda, Zale’s kiosk jewelry business, posted a comparable store sales increase of 0.3 percent. In the same period last year, comparable store sales rose 2.7 percent.

Gross margin on sales rose sharply to $222 million, or 53.1 percent, compared to $210 million, or 51.6 percent, in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2012. Operating margin increased 120 basis points.

Operating loss was $3 million, or 0.7 percent of revenues, compared to an operating loss of $8 million, or 1.9 percent of revenues, in the fourth quarter of the prior year.

For the 2013 fiscal year, the company reported a six-year high in net earnings of $10 million, or $0.24 diluted earnings per share, up $37 million, or $1.09 per share. The company said this is a six-year high.

Comparable store sales rose 3.3 percent for the year with Zales branded stores up 4.7 percent and Peoples branded stores up 4.8 percent at constant exchange rates. Gross margin was up 60 basis points to 52.1 percent and operating margin increased 90 basis points to 1.9 percent.

“For the year we achieved a significant milestone by delivering our highest net income in six years,” Theo Killion, Zale Corp. CEO, said in a statement.


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