Friedman’s first-quarter sales rise 9.2%

Friedman’s Inc., one of the largest retailers of fine jewelry in the United States, posted a 9.2% gain in net sales to $198 million for the first fiscal quarter ended Dec. 28, 2002, the firm announced Jan. 14. Comparable store sales increased 6.9%. Net income for the first fiscal quarter increased 15.5%, to a record $21.3 million.

Commenting on the results, chief executive officer Bradley J. Stinn said, “We are very pleased with the financial results for the Christmas quarter, posting record sales and profits. Operating profit margins expanded as we continued to refine our product assortment to drive sales and improve the execution of our retailing model. At the quarter’s end, our balance sheet was in excellent condition, with store-for-store inventories lower year-over-year by 2.5% and the currency of our receivable portfolio improved.”

Friedman’s operates 661 stores in 20 states, 434 in power strip centers and 227 in regional malls.