FINANCE

Zale loss widens on higher costs but beats Street; adds credit options

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Dallas — Zale Corp. reported Wednesday that its loss for the quarter ended July 31 widened to $32.6 million from $28.5 million a year earlier. Its results were impacted by increased inventory charges and absent a one-time gain recorded a year ago.

Revenue rose 9% to $377.3 million, compared with $345 million in the year-ago period. Wall Street expected higher losses on revenue of $360.4 million.

Same-store sales increased 9.8% in the quarter.

For the full year, Zale lost $112.3 million, compared with a loss of $93.7 million in fiscal 2010. Annual revenue rose 8% to $1.75 billion.

The company also announced it is launching a program for alternative financing options for U.S. customers, offering credit through Monterey Financial Services when credit applications are declined by primary provider Citibank.

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OPERATIONS

Tesco pulls out of Japanese market

BY Katherine Boccaccio

London — Grocery giant Tesco PLC said Wednesday it is pulling out of Japan, which means shuttering 129 small, leasehold-owned stores in the Greater Tokyo area, which employ 4,000 people. The country is the smallest of Tesco’s international retail businesses, and the weakest for sales growth in the 2010-2011 fiscal year.

“Having made considerable efforts in Japan, we have concluded that we cannot build a sufficiently scalable business,” said Philip Clarke, CEO.

Tesco entered Japan with the purchase of 78 stores from retailer C Two-Network in 2003. It acquired another 27 stores from retail chain Fre’c in 2004, before expanding the business with its own stores. Tesco has since invested around $163 million in Japan, where it operates small-format stores, supermarkets and convenience stores under the Tsurakame, Tesco and Tesco Express banners.

A formal sale process is slated to occur over the coming months.

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FINANCE

JoS. A. Bank profit rises 25% in Q2

BY Staff Writer

Hampstead, Md. — JoS. A. Bank Clothiers reported Wednesday that net income for the second quarter surged 24.7% to $20.6 million, compared with $16.5 million in the year-ago period.

Sales rose 22.4% to $230.7 million from $188.4 million. Same-store sales increased 14.7%.

“While sales are just one component of overall profit and August is a relatively small sales month, our comparable store sales in August are up slightly compared to the same period last year, despite the impact of the recent hurricane,” said R. Neal Black, president and CEO.

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