Zale posts 6.3% third quarter sales gain

Zale Corp., North America’s largest retailer of fine jewelry, has posted sales and comparable store gains for its third quarter ending Apr. 30, according to its preliminary report.

Total sales for the period were $444.4 million, a 6.3% gain over last year’s sales of $418.0 million.

Comp store sales rose 4.7%, compared to a decrease of 7.3% for the same period last year.

For the year-to-date, sales rose 5.5% to $1.7 billion compared to over $1.6 billion for the same period last year. On a year-to-date basis, comparable store sales increased 1.4%.

The sales results ” indicate a steady improvement in our business and a continued recapture of market share,” said Robert J. DiNicola, Zale Corp chairman and chief executive officer.

The official third quarter fiscal 2002 earnings results will be released on May 14.

Zale Corp. operates more than 2,300 retail locations throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico, as well as online. It chains include Zales Jewelers, Zales Outlet, Zale Direct at www.zales.com, Gordon’s Jewelers, Bailey Banks & Biddle Fine Jewelers, Peoples Jewellers, Mappins Jewellers, and Piercing Pagoda.