Zale Sells Bailey Banks & Biddle to Finlay

Zale Corp. has sold the 175-year-old upscale Bailey Banks & Biddle store chain, which it has owned for 45 years, to Finlay Fine Jewelry Corp. for $200 million. The purchase, plus an inventory adjustment, was expected to close by the end of October, according to Finlay. Finlay hailed the purchase as a “landmark” transaction, noting it almost triples the stand-alone jewelry stores it operates. Bailey has 70 locations in 31 states. David Sternblitz, Zale's vice president and treasurer, said that Bailey didn't fit the rest of the company's portfolio. “Bailey's was profitable, but I think we felt we could allocate those resources toward brands that had higher returns on capital, including Zale's Outlet and the Canadian brands,” he said. There is also talk that Zale will sell its Piercing Pagoda division, but Sternblitz said, “Bailey's had less synergies. Piercing Pagoda at
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