Zale Corp. (ZLC), the nation's biggest specialty jewelry retailer, reported Wednesday a wider loss for the first quarter, reflecting a charge for shutting down stores.

The company's loss totaled $23.7 million, or 47 cents per share, for the three months ended Oct. 31 versus a year-ago loss of $10.9 million, or 21 cents per share.

The quarter's results include a $5.3 million impairment charge for closing about 30 Bailey Banks & Biddle stores, which reduced profit by 10 cents per share. Stripping out the charge, Zale posted a loss of $18.4 million, or 36 cents per share.

Revenue edged up 1 percent to $427.6 million from $422.8 million a year ago. Sales in stores open at least one year — a key performance gauge known as same-store sales — slipped 1.2 percent.

Wall Street had forecast a loss of 37 cents per share, the average estimate of five analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial, on sales of $433.9 million. The estimate Thomson provides typically excludes charges.

Its shares rose 59 cents, or 2.2 percent, to $27.70 on the New York Stock Exchange. where they have traded in a 52-week range of $25.50 to $34.42.