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Finlay’s Lost Narrows

NEW YORK — Jewelry retailer Finlay Enterprises Inc. said that it trimmed its quarterly loss as it cut expenses and recorded better-than-expected sales.<br><br>Finlay, a top operator of leased jewelry departments in department stores, said it lost...

NEW YORK — Jewelry retailer Finlay Enterprises Inc. said that it trimmed its quarterly loss as it cut expenses and recorded better-than-expected sales.

Finlay, a top operator of leased jewelry departments in department stores, said it lost $473,000, or 5 cents a diluted share, for its second quarter ended Aug. 3, compared with a loss of $1.1 million, or 10 cents, in the year-ago period. Sales in the quarter fell 4.6 percent, to $187.1 million from $196.2 million last year, while same-store sales inched up 0.3 percent.

Noting that Finlay’s top- and bottom-line results exceeded projections, Arthur E. Reiner, chairman and chief executive of Finlay, said in a statement: “Our company continues to demonstrate strong operating discipline, which enabled us to achieve improved profitability during the first half of the year.”

In July, the New York-based company said it expected its quarterly loss to be at the narrower end of its forecast range of 8 to 10 cents a share.

Looking ahead, Reiner said that although recent business conditions have been difficult, he is comfortable with yearend earnings expectations of $2.35 to $2.50 a diluted share.

For the six months, the company reported a loss of $900,000, or 9 cents a diluted share, compared with last year’s six-month loss of $2.8 million, or 27 cents. Finlay’s total sales for the first six months fell 3.8 percent to $374.5 million compared with last year’s total of $389.4 million, but increased 1.2 percent on a comp basis.