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Zale Q3 net earnings soar as sales fall

BY Dan Berthiaume

Dallas – Zale Corp. reported net earnings of $9 million in the third quarter of fiscal 2014, an impressive 80% jump from $5 million a year earlier. This soaring growth came even as revenues slipped 3% to $431 million, from $443 million.

A lower cost of sales and higher pretax earnings and operating earnings helped boost Zale’s net earnings. Zale cited the net decrease of 78 stores compared to the prior year and a decline in the Canadian exchange rate, partially offset by same-store sales growth of 1.9%, as driving down revenues.

Zale has also sent a letter to TIG Advisors, a hedge fund that has been openly opposing Zale’s proposed merger with Signet Jewelers. The letter stated that Zale believes the $21 per share Zale shareholders will receive reflects fair market value, financial targets of the transaction are achievable, and that Zale shareholders will obtain long-term value. Zale has scheduled a special meeting of stockholders for Thursday, May 29 to vote on its proposed acquisition by Signet.

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Swift Communications invests in digital marketing provider Engage3

BY Dan Berthiaume

San Francisco – Swift Communications, a multi-platform publisher based in Carson City, Nevada, is making a strategic investment in Engage3, a retail intelligence and digital marketing solution provider. The two companies are also working together to identify retailer and supplier partners in the markets Swift serves to drive additional consumer value.

The amount of the investment, which closed earlier this month and will be used to expand the features of Engage3’s solutions, was not released.

Engage3’s flagship application, ShoppingScout, helps consumers find information on brands and retailers, and receive promotional offers while they read digital and print media. Engage3 uses algorithms to determine the shopper’s intent-to-buy and makes that information available to partnering users so they can influence the process.

“We are very pleased to have Swift Communications as an investor and a partner, and see it as a validation of our efforts to provide a better shopping experience for consumers,” said Ken Ouimet, CEO of Engage3. “The additional capital will be well-spent improving our solutions and capturing the interest of retailers and suppliers.”

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HSN joins national fundraising campaign for Habitat for Humanity

BY CSA STAFF

As HSN breaks ground on its fourth Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas County home this month, HSNi Cares, the philanthropic arm of HSN’s parent company HSN Inc, is set to launch a national campaign June 1 in support of Habitat for Humanity International.

Customers from these brands will have the opportunity to make a donation in support of the campaign when making purchases online and over the phone from June 1-30.

"At HSNi, we strive to create a culture of generosity, where creative people who are passionate about what they do have a way to give back, not only to our local community, but to causes that impact women and families everywhere," said Bill Brand, chief marketing and business development officer for HSN Inc. "We are excited to build on the strong partnership we forged with Habitat by introducing our first national campaign in support of the tremendous work the organization does with families worldwide."

As part of the campaign, on June 6, HSNi Cares and Improvements Cares will join forces for the first time and make a donation of $3 per item for select Improvements products sold on HSN. When customers purchase these items on their HSN credit card, the donation will be doubled to $6. Additionally, Ballard Designs and TravelSmith will work to raise awareness for Habitat among their customers and raise funds for the organization.

Contributions received in June will help Habitat continue to build, rehabilitate, repair and improve simple, decent homes in partnership with low-income families who are living in substandard conditions.

HSN employees each receive two days of paid time off for community service annually. Since 2010, employees have volunteered more than 2,000 hours to help build four houses for Habitat for Humanity.

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