Zale’s third-quarter sales rose 7.2%

Zale Corp., Dallas, North America’s largest specialty retailer of fine jewelry, reports that same-store sales increased 7.2% for the third quarter, ended April 30. Total revenues for the period were $483 million compared to last year’s third quarter revenues of $449 million, an increase of 7.6%.

For the fiscal year-to-date, total revenues increased 4.5% to $1.849 billion, compared to $1.770 billion for the same period last year. On a year-to-date basis, comparable store sales rose 4.4%.

“Our positive momentum continued across all brands during the third quarter,” Mary L. Forte, Zale president and CEO said in a statement. “We delivered a strong Valentine’s Day period and maintained that performance during the remainder of the quarter driven by impactful marketing and great product.”

Forte added, “Several of our major initiatives are beginning to have a positive impact on our business. Direct product sourcing is providing our customers quality merchandise while improving both sales and margins. Our marketing strategy is more targeted and productive as we further build our database marketing capabilities. Additionally, our emphasis on training and development, technology in our stores and our off-mall real estate strategy is enhancing the customer experience in our stores.”

Zale will announce its third quarter fiscal 2004 earnings results on May 18.

Zale Corp. operates approximately 2,220 retail locations throughout the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico, as well as online. Zale’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.