Zale Falls on Wider-Than-Expected First-Quarter Loss

Zale Corp. (ZLC), the operator of the Zales and Piercing Pagoda jewelry chains, fell the most in almost four years after reporting a fiscal first-quarter loss that was wider than analysts estimated.

The shares slid 30 percent to $5.21 at the close in New York for the biggest one-day decline since Nov. 25, 2008. The shares had gained 95 percent this year through yesterday.

Zale said in a statement yesterday that its loss in the three months ended Oct. 31 narrowed to $28.3 million, or 88 cents a share, from $31.9 million, or 99 cents, a year earlier. Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg had estimated a 68-cent loss. Sales rose 1.8 percent to $357.5 million, trailing analysts’ average estimate of $366 million.

Zale, based in Irving, Texas, has posted five straight years of losses. The company yesterday reiterated that it expects to be profitable in its current fiscal year.

To contact the reporter on this story: Lauren Coleman-Lochner in New York at llochner@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Robin Ajello at rajello@bloomberg.net

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