FINANCE

American Eagle profit up

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — American Eagle Outfitters earned a better-than-expected $39.7 million for the quarter ended April 28, compared with $28.3 million in the same period last year.

The company had said earlier first-quarter sales rose 18% to $719 million. Same-store sales were up 17%.

Last week, American Eagle said its would exit its underperforming children’s business, 77kids, which includes 22 stores and the online business. The company is currently exploring options for the business, which include a full or partial disposition of assets to a third party.

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FINANCE

Zale loss narrows; to close small number of underperforming units

BY Marianne Wilson

Dallas — Zale Corp reported a narrower third-quarter loss on Wednesday.

Zale’s net loss narrowed by about a half to $4.5 million in the third quarter ended April 30, from $9 million a year ago.

Revenues for the quarter ended April 30, 2012 rose 8.1% to $445 million, compared with $412 million in the same period last year. Same-store sales increased 8%.

“The six consecutive quarters of positive comps, coupled with continued momentum through the Mother’s Day selling period, demonstrates that the strategic initiatives we’ve undertaken are resonating with our guests,” said Theo Killion, CEO. “In addition, the improvement in operating earnings this quarter is another indication of the progress we are making as we accelerate towards bottom line profitability.”

Zales said it will selectively close a small number of underperforming stores at lease expiration this year and is not focused on opening new stores in the near term.

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FINANCE

Tabots extends talks with Sycamore again

BY Marianne Wilson

Hingham, Mass. — Talbots Inc. said is extending its talks with Sycamore Partners about an acquisition offer. It is the second time the chain has extended the talks.

Talbots has extended the period of time during which it will talk solely with the private equity firm about its $211 million takeover offer until Thursday.

The first time Talbots extended the exclusivity period was a week ago, when it announced that the talks would continue until Wednesday.

Earlier this month Sycamore offered to buy Talbots for $3.05 per share.

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