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Zale cleared by SEC

BY CSA STAFF

Dallas — Zale Corp. announced Friday that it has been cleared by the Securities and Exchange Commission in its investigation and that the SEC will not take any action against the company.

The SEC began investigating the jeweler in October 2009 after it restated its 2008 and 2009 earnings. The company said at the time that a financial audit had uncovered internal control and accounting issues related to advertising costs, income taxes and internal company payments, among other things.

We are pleased to announce that the SEC has concluded its investigation,” said Theo Killion, CEO, Zale. “We are glad to share with our investors and employees that this matter is now behind us as we continue to focus on returning our business to profitability.”

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Wal-Mart to pay $440K in ethnic harassment suit

BY CSA STAFF

New York City — Wal-Mart Stores has agreed to pay $440,000 to settle a federal harassment lawsuit by 10 employees who say they endured ethnic slurs and derogatory remarks on a daily basis while working at a Sam’s Club store in Fresno, Calif. The EEOC announced the settlement Thursday.

Nine of the lawsuit plaintiffs were of Mexican descent and one was married to a Mexican. The alleged harasser was a Mexican-American co-worker.

The plaintiffs say they first complained in April 2006 but managers failed to address the harassment. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a complaint in October of that year, and the harasser was fired two months later.

The agreement also calls for Wal-Mart to review its policies and provide training on discrimination at Sam’s Club locations in Fresno and Bakersfield.

The settlement comes as chain is trying to halt the largest class-action sex-discrimination lawsuit in history by female employees who are seeking billions of dollars. That case is before the U.S. Supreme Court.

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Duckwall-ALCO posts 4Q earnings dip, FY loss

BY CSA STAFF

ABILENE, Kan. — Duckwall-ALCO Stores reported that net sales from continuing operations for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2011 increased 4.4% to $136.9 million and same-store sales, excluding fuel center sales, increased 1.8%, compared with the same period in the prior fiscal year. Net sales from continuing operations for the fiscal year decreased 0.6% to $465.2 million and same-store sales decreased 2.4%, compared with the same period in the prior fiscal year.

Net earnings for the fourth quarter were $0.7 million, or 19 cents per diluted share, compared with $1.4 million, or 35 cents per diluted share, for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2010.

The company reported a net loss of $4.6 million, or $1.20 per diluted share, for the full year,compared with net earnings of $2.8 million, or 72 cents per diluted share, for the prior fiscal year. The fiscal year net loss from continuing operations was $3.6 million, or 93 cents per diluted share, compared with earnings from continuing operations of $2.2 million, or 56 cents per diluted share, for the prior fiscal year.

Richard Wilson, president and CEO, commented, "As evidenced by the year-over-year earnings improvement from continuing operations in the fourth quarter, we believe this quarter was one of those stepping-off points where we have the sense of accomplishing many things, are starting to see the results of our efforts, and are well positioned for the future. While we recognize there is still much work to do, we look forward to building upon these accomplishments in order to deliver the sales and profitability results our shareholders deserve. We are particularly encouraged by the continued growth of our same store sales into the first two months of the 2012 fiscal year."

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