Zale third-quarter earnings up 27%

Zale Corp., Dallas, the largest specialty retailer of fine jewelry in North America, reported third quarter net earnings of $14.5 million—a 27% increase over the previous year’s third-quarter earnings of $11.5 million.

Total revenues for the third quarter ended April 30, 2005 were $516 million, compared to $483 million for the same period last year, an increase of 6.7%. Comparable store sales increased 3.5% for the same period.

Total revenues for the year-to-date totaled $1.911 billion compared to $1.849 billion for the same period last year, an increase of 3.3%. On a comparable store basis, year-to-date sales increased 0.4%. Year-to-date net earnings totaled $102.7 million. For the same period last year, net earnings were $99.6 million.

“We are very pleased with these earnings results as they reflect the ongoing execution of our strategy,” said Mary L. Forte, president and CEO. “Our brand management focus along with the achievement of our growth objectives drove a solid top-line improvement for the quarter.”

Zale Corp. operates at approximately 2,330 retail locations throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico, as well as online. The company’s 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 and www.baileybanksandbiddle.com.