Zale Corp. reports a 48% increase in net earnings, approves stock split

Zale Corp., the largest specialty retailer of fine jewelry in North America, said Tuesday that third quarter net earning were—an increase of 48% over the same period last year when the company reported net earnings of $9.4 million.

Total revenues for the third quarter (ended April 30) were $483 million, compared to $449 million for the same period last year, an increase of 7.6%. Comparable store sales increased 7.2% for the same period.

Total revenues for the year-to-date totaled $1.849 billion compared to $1.770 billion for the same period last year, an increase of 4.5%. On a comparable store basis, year-to-date sales increased 4.4%. Year-to-date net earnings totaled $99.6 million.

“We are very pleased with these earnings results as they reflect the ongoing execution of our strategy,” Mary L. Forte, president and CEO, said in a statement. “Our merchandising and marketing initiatives have driven top-line improvement, while major initiatives such as direct product sourcing have also had a positive impact on the business. This combined with tight controls on inventory and expenses resulted in a 40 basis point improvement this quarter in operating margins over last year.”

The company’s board of directors also approved a two-for-one split of the common stock of Zale Corp. The company will issue one additional share of common stock for each outstanding share of common stock. The additional shares will be distributed on June 8 to shareholders of record at the close of business on May 28. As a result of the stock split, the number of outstanding shares of common stock will increase to approximately 52 million.

Zale Corp. is North America’s largest specialty retailer of fine jewelry operating approximately 2,220 retail locations throughout the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico, as well as online. Zale Corp.’s brands include Zales Jewelers, Zales Outlet, Zale Direct at www.zales.com, Gordon’s Jewelers, Bailey Banks & Biddle Fine Jewelers, Peoples Jewellers, Mappins Jewellers, and Piercing Pagoda.