February 5, 2009 / 1:31 PM / 9 years ago

UPDATE 1-Finlay's Q4 sales fall 20 pct as shoppers stay away

Feb 5 (Reuters) - Jeweler Finlay Enterprises FNLY.OB, stung by liquidity woes, reported a 20 percent fall in fourth-quarter sales as U.S. consumers curtailed spending amid a weak economy.

In December, the company warned that the U.S. recession had hurt its liquidity position and it might have to curtail its operations or pursue other options if the situation did not improve.

Finlay, which has its own shops and also operates counters at department store chains like Macy’s Inc (M.N), had also cautioned that such steps would not necessarily help it meet financial obligations as they come due.

The company, which also operates the Bailey Banks & Biddle and Carlyle jewelry chains, said sales fell to $306.7 million in the fourth quarter ended Jan. 31.

Comparable-store sales fell 15 percent in the period.

Jewelry retailers, including Zale Corp ZLC.N, Signet Jewelers (SIG.N) and even upscale Tiffany & Co (TIF.N) have fallen victim as consumers, squeezed by the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, shop only for essentials.

Finaly shares closed at about 3 cents on the over-the-counter bulletin board on Wednesday. (Reporting by Dhanya Skariachan in Bangalore; Editing by Vinu Pilakkott )

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