NEW YORK – Jewelry retailer Zale Corp. (ZLC) said Tuesday its quarterly loss widened as its business took a hit in the autumn from the string of hurricanes that battered the U.S. Southeast and Puerto Rico.
The Dallas-based company's loss for the fiscal first quarter ended Oct. 31 was $10.9 million, or 21 cents per share. In the same period last year, it reported a loss of $9.2 million, or 17 cents a share.
Wall Street analysts on average had expected the company to post a loss of 21 cents a share, according to Reuters Estimates.
"Operating disciplines remain firmly in place and we are confident in our preparation for this holiday season," President and Chief Executive Mary Forte said in a statement.
The company, whose stores include Zales, Bailey Banks & Biddle (search) and Piercing Pagoda (search), said revenue climbed 1.4 percent to $423 million in the quarter. Comparable store sales, a key measure of strength in the retail industry, slipped 0.9 percent, it said.
The company said on a conference call that it was sticking with its forecast for the fiscal second quarter, anticipating a gain in same-store sales of 2 to 3 percent, a total revenue increase of 6 to 7 percent, and earnings per share of $1.98 per share to $2.01 per share.
Zale's shares slipped 1 percent to $30.33, a day after closing at $30.65 on the New York Stock Exchange, near a 52-week high of $31.30 tapped in April.
Last week, luxury jeweler Tiffany & Co. (TIF) reported unexpectedly weak sales and an unexpected drop in quarterly earnings, although its same-store sales rose 4 percent for the third-quarter. Its shares were down nearly 2 percent at $30.96.