Zale Completes Sale of BBB to Finlay

Zale Corp. said Monday that it has completed the $200 million sale of its Bailey Banks & Biddle brand to Finlay Fine Jewelry Corp. The Dallas-Based company said it expects to earn $175 million from the sale—excluding taxes, transaction fees, outstanding payables.

In addition, the company’s board of directors has approved a stock repurchase program of up to $200 million of Zale common stock. Further details related to the structure of the repurchase program will be provided in the first quarter earnings release scheduled for Nov. 20.

“The use of proceeds to repurchase stock is a way to return value to shareholders, and reflects confidence in the future as we execute our strategic plan,” said Betsy Burton, Zale chief executive officer. “On behalf of Zale Corporation, I would like to thank the entire team of associates at Bailey Banks & Biddle for their hard work, dedication and commitment to building a great brand.”

Zale Corp. is a leading specialty retailer of fine jewelry in North America operating approximately 2,200 retail locations throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico, as well as online. Zale Corp.’s brands include Zales Jewelers, Zales Outlet, Gordon’s Jewelers, Peoples Jewellers, Mappins Jewellers, and Piercing Pagoda. Zale also operates online at www.zales.com and www.gordonsjewelers.com.

Finlay Enterprises, Inc., through its wholly-owned subsidiary, Finlay Fine Jewelry Corp., is one of the leading retailers of fine jewelry and the largest operator of licensed fine jewelry departments in department stores throughout the United States with sales of $990.1 million in fiscal 2005. The number of locations at the end of the third quarter of fiscal 2006 totaled 819, including 34 Carlyle specialty jewelry stores.