Zale Flexes its Mall Muscle

Fiscal 1997 was another banner year for Zale Corp. The Irving, Texas, jewelry chain – the nation’s largest with 1,065 units – saw total sales for the year ended July 31 increase 10.2% to $1.25 billion. Earnings jumped 15.3% to $50.55 million. Same-store sales rose a strong 5.5%. Now in its third year of impressive growth, the retailer seems to have maneuvered all the key elements into place to ensure its ongoing success. Its once overlapping, under-performing divisions have been restructured into three profitable, distinct, autonomous operating units – which in early September included the 640-store Zales, 310-store Gordon’s and 113-store Bailey, Banks & Biddle divisions. An ambitious growth plan calls for an additional 100 stores a year over the next few years. Zale continues to refine a definitive key item approach that in just three years has grown to more than a thi

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