September 6, 2006, 12:00 AM

Zale web sales rise 39% in FY 2006

Zale Corp. is reporting an e-commerce sales gain of 39% for the 2006 fiscal year while total sales rose by 2.1%. Zale also will launch a new web store in fiscal 2007 and add new features and functionality to Zales.com and BaileyBanksandBiddle.com.

Mark Brohan

Research Director

Zale Corp. is reporting an e-commerce sales gain of 39% for the 2006 fiscal year while total sales rose by 2.3%.

For FY 2006, Zale, No. 226 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide to Retail Web Sites , recorded web sales of around $25 million vs. $18 million in FY 2005. In FY 2006, total sales rose to $2.43 billion from $2.38 billion in fiscal 2005. “We finished with an almost 100% increase for the fourth quarter and over 40% for the year with our e-commerce sales,” says David Sternblitz, Zale vice president and treasurer. “We are very focused on a complete multi-channel approach to meeting our customers` needs.”

Zale, which outsources many e-commerce functions to GSI Commerce Inc., will launch a new web store in fiscal 2007 and add new features and functionality to its other commerce-enabled sites such as Zales.com and BaileyBanksandBiddle.com. The jewelry retailer will launch an e-commerce site for Gordon’s Jewelers, a chain that sells diamonds and other fine jewelry to customers on a budget. Also in the works is a new “build-a-ring” program that will enable shoppers to custom build and order online an engagement and other rings.

Zale sees additional e-commerce functionality as being to key to growing its overall sales. “Zales.com continues to deliver near triple digit increases,” Zale president and CEO Betsy Burton told Wall Street analysts on an Aug. 31 conference call.

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