Zale posts profit

Zale Corp., on Thursday reported that fiscal third-quarter profit rose as it focused on controlling costs, but overall sales growth was flat, Reuters reports.

The Dallas-based jewelry retailer said earnings in the third quarter, ended April 30, were $9.4 million. That compared with $7.7 million in the previous year.

Zale said improvements in its wedding merchandise was among the things that helped lure customers to its stores.

Zale reported third-quarter sales inched up 0.1% to $449.4 million from $449.2 million a year earlier, while same-store sales edged up 0.3%.

Zale, which operates about 2,265 stores throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico, said a focus on controlling inventory also aided results for the latest quarter.

Maintaining a tight rein on inventory often helps retailers reduce the need for markdowns, which hurt gross margins. Zale’s Chief Executive Officer, Mary Forte, said, in a statement, that the firm’s tight controls on inventory and expenses helped boost the firm’s operating margin.