FINANCE

Zale to Cut 200 Jobs, Close Stores

BY CSA STAFF

Dallas Zale Corp. said Wednesday it will close more stores and cut 20% of its headquarters staff to save more than $65 million a year.

The company said it would close another 23 stores, bringing the number it expects to shutter by the end of July to 105. That would leave about 2,145 stores and kiosks under several brands including Zales Jewelers and Piercing Pagoda.

Zale added it would lay off 140 people and eliminate 140 unfilled positions at its headquarters in suburban Dallas. Most of the $4 million in severance-related and other costs will be recorded in the company’s fiscal third quarter, which ends April 30.

 

Zale also will cut capital spending from an expected $85 million in 2008 to $45 million in fiscal 2009, and reduce inventory by $100 million.

Last week, the company reported that profit fell 31% in its most recent quarter and that same-store sales declined a sharp 7.3%.

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CEA president urges auto industry innovation

BY CSA STAFF

DETROIT Citing a huge increase in auto-based technologies, Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) president Gary Shapiro encouraged the auto industry to adopt a universal standard for car connectivity in a speech before the Detroit Economic Club.

 Shapiro told automakers, “the technology industry is your opportunity,” in a Feb. 25 speech and suggested the auto industry needs to work with electronics manufacturers to adopt an open standard for connectivity in cars.

“Just as Google, eBay and Amazon created new jobs and new businesses, the next mobile wave will create new jobs and economic growth,” said Shapiro. “The auto industry is squarely positioned to take advantage of this wave.”

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Fiala nominated as ICSC chair

BY CSA STAFF

NEW YORK The International Council of Shopping Centers has announced that Mary Lou Fiala, president and coo of Regency Center, Jacksonville, Fla., has been nominated by the ICSC board of trustees to serve as the association’s chairman for the 2008 to 2009 term.

Fiala has been an active member of ICSC for 11 years and has served on ICSC’s board of trustees for the past five years. She is also only the third woman to chair ICSC in the association’s history.  

“With experience on both the retailing and development side, Mary Lou’s background is ideal to serve as the head of our association in the coming year,” said Michael P. Kercheval, ICSC’s president and ceo.  “As the retail real estate industry continues to face challenges domestically and internationally, our members need to know how to embrace those challenges for all angles.  Mary Lou broad knowledge base and vast industry knowledge makes her uniquely qualified to articulate and guide this process as head of the world’s largest retail real estate association.  I, along with our board of trustees, look forward to working with her during her chairmanship.”

Fiala joined Regency Centers in 1998, bringing more than 18 years of retail and management experience to the company. In her role as president and coo, Ms. Fiala is responsible for the operational management of Regency’s retail centers nationwide.   Prior to working with Regency, Fiala served as managing director of Security Capital Global Strategic Group.

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