Zale reports small increases in same-store sales and revenue

Zale Corp., Dallas, reported Thursday that first quarter same-store sales increased 0.4 percent. Total revenues for the quarter were $432 million compared to last year’s total revenues of $428 million, an increase of 0.9 percent.

Last year’s total revenues include the results of the Bailey Banks & Biddle stores that were closed in the second fiscal quarter of 2006, which accounted for $9 million of the company’s revenues. Excluding these store closures, total revenues increased 3.1 percent over last year’s first quarter total of $419 million.

Same-store sales for the quarter ended Oct. 31 were at the low end, Zale said in a statement, primarily due to increased clearance at the Zales brand. The number of transactions increased, this was offset by a lower average ticket.

“Our performance was consistent with our plan to move through as much non-program merchandise as possible in the first quarter to make way for fresh assortments and the selling of regular-priced goods in the all important Holiday season,” said president and chief executive officer Betsy Burton.

The Company also noted that it expected results at the low end of its previously announced earnings guidance for the first quarter ending October 31, 2006, excluding the impact of derivative losses under SFAS 133.

Zale Corp. will announce its first quarter fiscal 2007 earnings results on Nov. 16.

Zale Corp. is North America’s largest specialty retailer of fine jewelry operating approximately 2,345 retail locations throughout the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico. Through its ZLC Direct organization, Zale also operates online at www.zales.com and www.baileybanksandbiddle.com. Zale Corp.’s brands include Zales Jewelers, Zales Outlet, Gordon’s Jewelers, Bailey Banks & Biddle, Peoples Jewellers, Mappins Jewellers, and Piercing Pagoda.