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2002: Diamond Industry Celebrity News Cover Diamond Retails

April 2002

Zale's DiNicola to Retire Again
Zale Corp's turnaround whiz, Robert DiNicola, will once again retire in July.
DiNicola has served two stints as CEO of Zale-first starting in 1994, when he led the retailing giant through bankruptcy reorganization. He retired in 1999, only to return in Feb. 2001 after his successor, Beryl Raff, abruptly resigned her post. Once again, DiNicola was able to refocus the 2,300-store chain on increasing sales and profits.

Sales Drop, Profits Rise at Whitehall Jewellers
Though same store sales dropped 5.4 percent during the fourth quarter of 2001, Whitehall Jewellers had a 50% gain in profits for the quarter. New income was $15.8 million, versus $10.1 million a year ago. CEO Hugh M. Patinkin attributes the soaring profits to efforts to reduce costs, reduce owned inventory and increase cash flow.

Finlay Earnings Stronger Than Expected
Finlay, the country's largest operator of leased fine-jewelry departs, expects earnings for the fourth quarter to pass expectations. The company expects earnings of $2.40 to $2.45 per share, versus the $2.05 to $2.25 previously forecast.

Federated and May In Merger Talks
Federated Department Stores and the May Department Stores—the nation’s two largest retail chains—are in discussions about possibly merging, according to the Wall Street Journal. The merger talks represent what analysts are predicting will be an overall trend of consolidation in the department store segment, as department stores try to compete with discount stores. A merger of Federated and May would create a company with $30 billion in annual sales.

Kmart to Close 284 Stores
As part of its Chapter 11 reorganization, Kmart intends to close 284 units in 40 states. This is a 13 percent reduction in the number of stores. Officials estimate that the closings will enhance cashflow this year by about $550 million.

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