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Zale holiday earnings fall 2%

BY Dan Berthiaume

Irving, Texas — Revenues for the two-month 2013 holiday period at Zale Corporation dropped 2% to $556 million from $567 million in the same period the prior year. Zale said the decrease in revenues is primarily due to the net decrease of 91 stores compared to last year and a decline in the Canadian exchange rate, partially offset by 2% overall same-store sales growth including e-commerce sales.

“During the holiday period, we maintained our focus on increasing exclusive product penetration, driving gross margin improvement and building our core national brands," said Zale CEO Theo Killion. "We executed a solid holiday season despite a challenging retail environment. Our holiday performance gives us confidence we can achieve our financial expectations for the fiscal year."

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Trans World Entertainment holiday performance slips

BY Dan Berthiaume

Albany, N.Y. — Total sales for the nine-week holiday 2013 period at Trans World Entertainment Corporation were $115 million compared to $128 million for the same period last year, a decrease of 10.2%. The company operated an average of 5% fewer stores during the nine-week period as compared to last year.

Same-store sales for the nine-week period ended Jan. 4, 2014 decreased 6%.

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Francesca’s ups Q4 guidance on holiday performance

BY Dan Berthiaume

Houston – Francesca’s Holding Corporation expects sales for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2014 to be between $93 million and $95 million, including a mid-to-low-single-digit decrease in same-store sales. This compares to previous guidance provided on Dec. 5, 2013 of sales between $90 million and $95 million, including a decrease of 8% to 3% in same-store sales.

Neil P. Davis, CEO of Francesca’s cited strong holiday performance for the increase in guidance.

"After a lackluster start to the holiday selling season beginning the week of Thanksgiving, we ended the season stronger,” said Davis. “Our customers responded well to our offerings, particularly apparel, accessories, and gifts. In addition, we remained diligent during the quarter aligning our inventory levels to our year-end objectives. As a result, we expect inventory, on an average boutique basis, to be flat to the comparable prior year period. Overall, we believe that our differentiated business model, combined with our retail growth strategy and execution of our operational initiatives, will continue to drive improvements in long-term shareholder value."

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