Investors extend Zale's drop

Friday - 11/23/2012, 1:38pm EST

By The Associated Press

(AP) - Zale Corp.'s shares fell in another weak day of trading Friday following the jewelry retailer's report of a larger-than-expected loss for its fiscal first quarter.

THE SPARK: Zale reported late Tuesday that it lost $28.3 million, or 88 cents per share, for the quarter that ended Oct. 31. That is better than its loss of $31.9 million, or 99 cents per share, a year ago. But it was worse than the loss of 68 cents per share that analysts polled by FactSet were expecting.

Zale's revenue rose 1.8 percent to $357.5 million, short of the $365.6 million that analysts were expecting.

Zale expects to report a profit for 2013 and said Wednesday that it is still on pace to meet that goal. Its shares still fell sharply that day and continued to fall Friday, the next day of trading after the Thanksgiving holiday and one of the busiest shopping days of the year.

THE BIG PICTURE: Jewelry sales fell sharply during the recession and have yet to make a marked comeback, given the uncertain economy. While consumers will occasionally increase spending on jewelry, it remains a discretionary purchase that many are avoiding.

Zale runs Zales and Gordon's jewelry stores in the U.S., and People's Jewellers and Mappins Jewellers in Canada. It also operates Piercing Pagoda kiosks.

SHARE ACTION: Shares fell 20 cents, nearly 4 percent, to $5.01 by early afternoon Friday. Its stock lost roughly 12 percent of its value on Wednesday. Its shares are still near the middle of their 52-week trading range of $2.18 to $7.66 yet.


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