Retailer News

ZALE EARNINGS RISE 46% IN FISCAL 1995

Zale Corp., the nation’s largest jewelry store chain, posted a 46% gain in net earnings for fiscal 1995. Earnings grew despite a fourth-quarter loss attributed to early cancellation of debt.

Earnings for the fiscal year ending July 31 totaled $31.5 million on sales of $1.04 billion.That compares with earnings of $21.6 million on sales of $92 million in the previous fiscal year. Comparable store sales grew 12.8%.

For the fourth quarter alone, Zale reported a loss of $3.1 million on sales of $211.4 million. That compares with a loss of $5.4 million on sales of $199.9 million for the previous fiscal year’s final quarter. Comparable store sales rose 7%. The previous year’s fourth quarter included an extraordinary charge of $1.6 million related to refinancing the company’s receivables.

“We are extremely pleased with our results for the year,” says Robert DiNicola, chairman and chief executive officer. “Through tremendous effort by the entire Zale organization, we are now ahead of schedule in rebuilding our company. We are excited about the future opportunities and are committed to enhancing and expanding the power of our valuable franchises.”

MORE JEWELERS JOIN THE INTERNET

More jewelers are going onto the Internet, the worldwide confederation of public and private computer networks. Two of the latest to sign on are in Hawaii and Texas:

· Dallas Gold & Silver Exchange launched its Computer Jeweler Exchange on the Internet’s World Wide Web in August, says President William Oyster. The publicly held company sells fine jewelry and bullion products at two superstores. It became part of the network to increase consumer awareness here and abroad. The company’s location on the Web is http://www.pic.net/jewelry. Dallas Gold & Silver Exchange, 7136 Greenville, Ave., Dallas, Tex. 75231; (800) 347-3544 or (214) 373-3473.

· Carats & Karats Fine Jewelry launched Hawaiian Heirloom Jewelry, offering “fine quality, exotic, hand-carved [heirloom jewelry] in 14 karat, 18 karat and platinum.” It’s location on the Web is http://www.lava.net/carats. Carts & Karats at 1254 S. King St., Honolulu, Hawaii 96815; (808) 593-8122.

HSN ADDS ALLIANCES IN EUROPE & MIDDLE EAST

HSN Direct Joint Venture, a division of the Home Shopping Network, has reached several agreements designed to increase business overseas.

In France, the HSN Direct Europe affiliate formed a joint venture with Canal+, a leading pay TV channel that reaches some 6 million adults. The new venture, based in Paris, will distribute programming to all French-speaking parts of the world.

· In Germany, HSN Direct will air a nightly 30-minute informercial on DSF, Germany’s leading sports channel, and on TM3, a new women’s interests channel.

· In Great Britain, HSN Direct will air two 30-minute infomercials every night on LiveTV, a cable channel that reaches 2 million adults and is owned by the Mirror Group, a leading United Kingdom newspaper company.

· In Spain, HSN Direct formed a joint venture with A3TV, the country’s leading private TV channel. HSN Direct will provide TV programming tailored by A3TV’s new direct marketing division.

· A joint project involving HSN Direct and Dallah Albaraka in the Middle East and northern Africa is expected to start operating this fall. The new venture, called Samaha HSND, will broadcast various electronic retailing formats to audiences throughout 20 countries via a satellite network.

OPENINGS

Van Buren Jewelers and Gem Merchants opened a new store at the Metrocenter in Jackson, Miss. The store was relocated from the Fairgrounds Antique Flea Market.

The Jewelry Gallery opened a new store in Hickory Ridge Crossing Shopping Center near Memphis, Tenn. This is the company’s second store.

Rogers & Hollands of Park Forest, Ill., opened three new stores in Michigan in September: one each in Lansing, Battle Creek and Jackson. In addition to their Michigan stores, Rogers & Hollands operates 39 other stores in Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana.

Regency Jewelers opened a new store in the Westwood Plaza Wal-Mart Shopping Center in Mobile, Ala.

Lister Jewelers opened a store in Coral Gables, Fla. The store is operated by Daniel Lister, who has 35 years of experience in the jewelry industry, and his sons, Danny, formerly with Mayor’s Jewelers, and Richard, an editor and copublisher of a South Florida magazine.

Ben David Jewelers opened a new store, its fourth, in the New Oak Hollow Mall in High Point, N.C.

CLOSING

Popkin’s Jewelry, Franklin, La., closed its doors in July after 103 years in business.