Exclusive collections help lift Zale 2Q profit

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Associated Press

Posted on February 21, 2013 at 10:00 AM

Updated Thursday, Feb 21 at 10:02 AM

DALLAS (AP) — Zale Corp.'s fiscal second-quarter net income climbed 43 percent during the critical holiday period, as shoppers snapped up items from its exclusive collections.

Some of the jewelry company's exclusive collections include Vera Wang Love, Blue Lagoon by Mikimoto and Celebration Diamond.

Zale on Thursday posted earnings $41.2 million, or $1.02 per share, for the three months ended Jan. 31. That compares with $28.8 million, or 77 cents per share, in the year-ago period.

The results topped the $1.01 per share projected by analysts surveyed by FactSet.

Revenue edged up 1 percent to $670.8 million from $663.8 million, beating Wall Street's forecast of $667.9 million.

Results were also helped by lower costs. Selling, general and administrative expenses declined 1 percent to $278.8 million. The company also paid lower interest expenses and recorded a small amount of depreciation and amortization.

Revenue at stores open at least a year, a key indicator of a retailer's health, rose 2.8 percent. This figure is an important measure of a retailer's health, because it excludes results from stores recently opened or closed.

Revenue at Zales Jewelers and Zales Outlet locations open at least a year increased 3.6 percent. The metric climbed 2.8 percent for U.S. fine jewelry brands including Gordon's Jewelers and rose 3.8 percent for its Canadian fine jewelry brands, which include Peoples Jewelers and Mappins Jewellers.

Piercing Pagoda reported a 1 percent rise in the figure.

Zale said Thursday that it still expects positive earnings for fiscal 2013, but it did not provide a specific forecast.

The company runs about 1,750 retail locations throughout the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico.

Zale Corp. shares closed Wednesday at $4.37, up about 6 percent since the start of the year. Shares have traded in a 52 week range of $2.18 to $7.66.

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