Friedman’s sales up 6.3%; will reissue financial statements in February

Friedman’s Inc., Savannah, Ga., reported Wednesday that net sales for the quarter ended Dec. 27 increased 6.3%, to $210.6 million. Comparable store sales rose 2.7% during the quarter. The company during the quarter had 710 stores in operation, an increase of 7.3% compared to the first fiscal quarter of 2002.

The company also said it is continuing to work with Ernst & Young to complete the restatement of its financial statements for at least the last three fiscal years. Ernst & Young withdrew its audit opinions on annual financial statements for the fiscal years 2000, 2001, and 2002.

The principal reason for the restatement is concern over the accounting for the allowance for doubtful accounts, the company said. Until the Audit Committee completes its internal investigation and Ernst & Young is able to complete its audits, the total impact on the company’s financial statements cannot be known. Friedman’s said it expects to file its Form 10-K by the end of February and to provide preliminary financial information for the restated periods and the year ended September 27, 2003 prior to that date.

Friedman’s Inc. is a leading specialty retailer of fine jewelry. The company is the leading operator of fine jewelry stores located in power strip centers.