UPDATE 1-Zale's loss worse than expected, shares tumble

Tue Nov 20, 2012 4:29pm EST

Nov 20 (Reuters) - Zale Corp, which offers affordable jewelry to middle-class shoppers, on Tuesday posted a deeper quarterly loss than Wall Street expected on sales that did not meet expectations, and shares fell more than 11 percent in after-hours trading.

Fourth-quarter revenue rose 1.8 percent to $357.5 million, missing analyst projections of $364.7 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. The net loss narrowed from a year earlier, but was 20 cents per share bigger than analysts had expected.

Shares fell 83 cents to $6.61 in after-hours trading after the company released its results. Last Tuesday, Zale shares reached $7.66, their highest level since 2009.

Zale reported its eighth straight quarter of same-store sales gains. Zale's U.S. fine jewelry brands unit, which accounts for about 70 percent of annual revenue and consists of Zales Jewelers, Zales Outlet and Gordon's Jewelers, posted a 3.9 percent increase in same-store sales in the quarter.

The company, which operates Peoples Jewellers in Canada, reported company wide a same-store sales gains of 3.7 percent excluding the impact of current translations.

The company's net loss for the first quarter narrowed to $28.3 million, or 88 cents per share, from $31.9 million, or 99 cents per share, a year earlier.

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