By  on February 10, 2009

Thrifty consumers and the loss of several department store leases contributed to a 20 percent sales decrease for Finlay Enterprises Inc. in the fourth quarter.

Sales for the three months ended Jan. 31 were $306.7 million, down from $383.1 million in the same 2007 quarter. Specialty nameplates Carlyle, Congress and Bailey Banks & Biddle, which Finlay acquired in November 2007 from Zale Corp., contributed sales of $99.1 million in the quarter. Finlay said comparable-store sales fell 19.6 percent. Comparable results exclude the Macy’s Inc. and Lord & Taylor LLC in-store shops that were scheduled to close on Jan. 31.

The 93 licensed departments in Macy’s North and Northwest divisions generated $120 million in 2007 revenue. The firm will continue to operate 216 counters for Macy’s Central, as well as areas in 34 stores in the Bloomingdale’s division of Macy’s. The Bloomingdale’s license expired at the end of fiscal 2009 and the Macy’s Central license one year later. Licensed departments in Macy’s stores accounted for 52 percent of Finlay sales, or $438.6 million, in 2007.

At Lord & Taylor, which is owned by NRDC Equity Partners, the original plan was to close 47 sites because NRDC had planned to replace Finlay with its own Fortunoff fine jewelry departments. When NRDC was reported to be seeking buyers for Fortunoff last month, negotiations began to continue the Finlay sites as licensed departments. Fortunoff filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last week.

The Lord & Taylor locations generated $44 million in sales in 2007, according to a regulatory filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

On a continuing operations basis, sales in 2008 rose 3.2 percent to $862.6 million from $835.9 million in 2007.

While Finlay has been fighting credit battles of its own, it’s also listed as one of the creditors of bankrupt Gottschalks Inc., with claims totaling $1.1 million.

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