Zale Corp. Earnings Cheat Sheet: Net Loss Widens

Zale Corporation (NYSE:ZLC) reported its results for the fourth quarter. Zale Corporation is a specialty retailer of fine jewelry. It operates approximately 1,218 specialty retail jewelry stores and 672 kiosks located mainly in shopping malls throughout the United States of America, Canada and Puerto Rico.

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Zale Earnings Cheat Sheet for the Fourth Quarter

Results: Loss widened to $32.6 million ($1.02 per diluted share) from $28.5 million (loss of 89 cents per share) in the same quarter a year earlier.

Revenue: Rose 9.4% to $377.3 million from the year earlier quarter.

Actual vs. Wall St. Expectations: ZLC beat the mean analyst estimate of a loss of $1.12 per share. It beat the average revenue estimate of $360.4 million.

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

Key Stats:

Gross margin shrank 1.4 percentage points to 51.3%. The contraction appeared to be driven by increased costs, which rose 12.7% from the year earlier quarter while revenue rose 9.4%.

Revenue has now gone up for three straight quarters. In the third quarter, revenue rose 14.5% to $411.8 million while the figure rose 7.6% in the second quarter from the year earlier.

The company has now beaten estimates the last two quarters. In the third quarter, it topped expectations with a loss of -31 cents versus a mean estimate of a loss of 49 cents per share.

Competitors to Watch: Zale Corporation (NYSE:ZLC), Blue Nile, Inc. (NASDAQ:NILE), DGSE Companies, Inc. (AMEX:DGSE), Coach, Inc. (NYSE:COH), Signet Jewelers (NYSE:SIG), Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN), eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY), Nordstrom (NYSE:JWN) and Macy’s (NYSE:M).

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(Source: Xignite Financials)