Whitehall Jewellers same-store holiday sales fell by 9%

Whitehall Jewellers, Inc., Chicago, said comparable store sales declined 9% for the November and December holiday period, verses a 6.4% increase for the same period in 2003.

Total sales for the two-month period totaled $110.8 million, compared to $120.9 million for the same period in 2003.

Year-to-date sales through Dec. 31, 2004, fell 2.9% to $319.5 million, versus $329. million for the eleven-month period in 2003. Comparable store sales for the same 11-month period decreased 3.6%, compared to a 0.7% decrease for the same period in 2003.

The company says it continues to focus on repositioning its brand. This includes retail sales of over $29 million of certain discontinued merchandise since mid July 2004. In addition, the company has also introduced new merchandise assortments which produced approximately 15% of its holiday merchandise sales while comprising only 10% of its inventory.

Whitehall Jewellers, Inc. is a leading national specialty retailer of fine jewelry, currently operating 382 stores in 38 states. The Company operates stores in regional and superregional shopping malls under the names Whitehall Co. Jewellers, Lundstrom Jewelers, and Marks Bros. Jewelers.