Finlay posts strong quarterly and annual numbers

Finlay Enterprises Inc., New York, said Thursday its fourth quarter net income almost doubled, helped primarily by a charge in the prior-year period.

For the fiscal fourth-quarter the company reported net income of $28.1 million, up from $14.3 million last year.

Excluding items in both years’ periods, income from continuing operations increased 2% to $27.3 million, from $26.8 million in the same quarter last year.

Sales ticked up fractionally to $380.6 million from $379 million last year. Same-store sales, or sales in stores open at least a year, increased 1.6%. For fiscal 2004, the company reported net income of $16 million, up from $8.4 million in the prior year.

The company’s sales increased 2.3% to $923.6 million in fiscal 2004 compared to $902.4 million in fiscal 2003. Same-store sales increased 2.7% for the year.

Finlay, which operates fine jewelry departments in both May and Federated stores, could find itself losing business if the merger deal between Federated and May goes through.

In recent years, according to regulatory filings reported by CBS’ MarketWatch, May and Federated accounted for an average of 51% and 18%, respectively, of Finlay’s sales.

Moreover, in 2003, according to Finlay’s SEC filings as reported by MarketWatch, Federated announced it would not renew Finlay’s lease at Federated’s Burdines division; rather than lease out the jewelry operations, Federated took them in house. Burdines represented $55 million in sales to Finlay.

“While we cannot speculate about what decisions Federated may make, or any impact on our company should the transaction be completed, we will update the investment community as definitive information is received,” said Finlay CEO Arthur Reiner in a statement.