Zale comps grow, offers customers gem of a finance deal

DALLAS — While Zale Corp. posted a nearly 10% comps increase for its fourth quarter, higher commodity costs lead to a wider net loss for the period. The company stands to gain even more in the way of sales, with additional financing options for its customers.

Zale Corp. reported that revenues for the quarter ended July 31 were $377 million, an increase of $32 million, or 9.4%, compared with $345 million in the same period last year. Comparable-store sales during the quarter ended increased 9.8%, compared with a decrease of 2.1% during the same period last year. 

The company reported a net loss for the fourth quarter of $33 million, or $1.02 per share, compared with a net loss from continuing operations of $29 million, or 89 cents per share, in the comparable quarter last year. 

Revenues for the year ended July 31 were $1.74 billion, an increase of $126 million, or 7.8%, compared with $1.62 billion in fiscal year 2010. Comparable-store sales for the fiscal year ended July 31, 2011 increased 8.1%, compared to a decrease of 6.6% for the fiscal year 2010. 

For the fiscal year ended July 31, the company incurred a net loss from continuing operations of $112 million, or $3.49 per share, compared with a net loss from continuing operations of $96 million, or $2.99 per share, in fiscal year 2010.

“In fiscal 2011, we made substantial progress in the multi-year initiative to return to profitability,” commented Theo Killion, CEO. “The strength of our assortment, marketing and field organization position us well to navigate through the current economic environment.”

Zale also announced a new partnership with Monterey Financial Services to offer alternative financing options to its U.S. customers. The service is available for those customers whose credit applications have been declined by Zale's main financing provider, Citibank. 

“We are pleased to be able to expand our financing options so that even more guests can affordably purchase beautiful jewelry,” said Ken Brumfield, VP financial products for Zale Corp. “These offerings demonstrate our continuing effort to build long-term loyalty and sales for Zale.”

Zale Corp. operates approximately 1,830 retail locations throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico, as well as online. Zale Corporation's brands include Zales Jewelers, Zales Outlet, Gordon's Jewelers, Peoples Jewellers, Mappins Jewellers and Piercing Pagoda.