Zale Posts Fiscal Year Results

Zale Corp., the world's largest specialty retailer of fine jewelry, ended fiscal 2001 (July 31) with a 13.8% gain in sales but a 3.8% drop in same-store sales, says a preliminary report issued Aug. 7. The fourth quarter showed sales of $410.4 million, a 9.8% gain over figures from last year's final quarter. However, comparable store sales were down 9.7%, compared with a 6.4% gain last year. In addition, Zale said fourth-quarter earnings would be five to 10 cents a share, much less than the 17 cents financial analysts reportedly expected. Robert Di Nicola, chairman and chief executive officer of Zale Corp., calls the fourth-quarter results "disappointing" and says initiatives to ensure Zale's long-term success had caused "a short-term disruption in our business." He notes, however, that the company had "finished this difficult year with positive cash flow and improved inventory leve

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