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Zale Corp comp-store Q4 sales rise 0.3%

Aug '05
Dallas based largest specialty jewelry retailer Zale Corporation reported net earnings of $4.1 million, or $0.08 per diluted share, for the Company's fourth quarter ended July 31, 2005. For the same period last year, the Company reported net earnings of $6.9 million, or $0.13 per diluted share.

Net earnings for fiscal year 2005 were $106.8 million, or $2.05 per diluted share. For the prior fiscal year, net earnings were $106.5 million, or $1.99 per diluted share.

For the fiscal year, total revenues increased 3.4 percent to $2.383 billion, compared to $2.304 billion for the prior fiscal year. On a comparable store basis, sales increased 0.3 percent for the year.

The Company announced as part of its strategy to improve brand performance and profitability at Bailey Banks & Biddle, it would be closing after the upcoming Holiday season 30 to 35 stores that do not fit with its long-term positioning in the luxury goods market. This action will permit the Company to focus capital, inventory and resources on the most productive stores and will further strengthen the Bailey Banks & Biddle brand. The Company estimates a charge in fiscal year 2006 of $13 million, net of tax, or $0.25 per diluted share. Further information will be provided quarterly as the store closings begin to occur.

The Company stated that as of August 1, 2005, it adopted Statement of Financial Accounting Standards (SFAS) No.123R Share-Based Payment, using the modified prospective method. The impact of adopting SFAS No.123R, which requires the expensing of stock compensation programs, is expected to reduce earnings per diluted share by approximately $0.10 in fiscal 2006.

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