Zale 4th Quarter Sales Down; Full-Year Flat

Zale Corp., a leading specialty retailer of fine jewelry in North America, on Tuesday reported that same-store sales decreased 0.5 percent for the fourth quarter ended July 31. Revenues for the quarter were $488 million compared to last year’s revenues of $491 million, a decrease of 0.6 percent.

Revenues recognized were $7.5 million or 1.5 percent less than the prior year as a result of the change made in the method of amortizing jewelry protection plan sales due to a change in the product offering from a two-year to a lifetime agreement during the second quarter, the Dallas-based company said.

While recognized revenue from the plans declined, actual sales of these plans increased to $26.7 million, compared with $16.6 million in the fourth quarter of 2006.

Full year revenues were flat at $2.44 billion, compared to the same period last year. Full year same-store sales decreased 0.2 percent.

“Our performance was consistent with plan for the fourth quarter,” said Betsy Burton, Zale Corp. chief executive officer. “We remained focused on maximizing gross margin dollars and maintaining good expense control in a somewhat challenging macro environment. As we start the beginning of a new fiscal year, our focus will be value creation for shareholders and improvement of the fundamentals of our business.”

Zale Corp. will announce its fourth quarter and complete fiscal year 2007 earnings results on Aug. 30.

Zale Corp. operates approximately 2,300 retail locations throughout the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico, as well as online. Its brands include Zales Jewelers, Zales Outlet, Gordon’s Jewelers, Bailey Banks & Biddle Fine Jewelers, Peoples Jewellers, Mappins Jewellers, and Piercing Pagoda. Through its ZLC Direct organization, Zale also operates online at www.zales.com, www.baileybanksandbiddle.com, and www.gordonsjewelers.com.