Whitehall Jewellers fourth quarter same-store sales down 5.4%

Whitehall Jewellers Inc. on Thursday reported a 5.4% decline in quarterly sales at stores open at least a year and said it is comfortable with Wall Street earnings estimates for the period, Reuters reported.

The jewelry retailer said total sales for the quarter slipped 2.8% to $130.5 million from $134.3 million, Reuters reported.

Analysts expect profits of $1.04 to $1.06 a share, with a mean estimate of $1.05, for the fourth quarter ended on Jan. 31, up from 74 cents a year earlier, according to research firm Thomson Financial/First Call, Reuters reported.

“Based on year end sales, we are very comfortable with consensus earnings for the fourth quarter and the fiscal year,” Chief Executive Huge Patinkin reportedly said in a statement.

On Jan. 9, the company had forecast higher than expected fourth-quarter profits despite lower same-store sales, citing cost controls and improved inventory management, Reuters reported.