(Zale article updated with stock price.)

IRVING, Texas (


) --



is tanking a day after it said November same-store sales tumbled 18.6%.

As a result of the dismal start to the holidays, the jeweler canceled some of its orders, the

Wall Street Journal

reported, refusing to accept "tens of millions of dollars in inventory at the end of November."

Zale did say, however, that it has the cash to pay its suppliers and expects momentum to build closer to Christmas.

Recently, the company has been the center of a Securities and Exchange investigation into financial irregularities.

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Shares of Zale are plunging 17.4% in morning trading to $2.09.

The jewelry market has been hit hard amid the recession, with many companies shutting stores and liquidating. The elimination of competition has helped some companies, like


(TIF) - Get Report

. In fact, Tiffany's is one of the top stock picks for 2010 for several Wall Street analysts.

-- Reported by Jeanine Poggi in New York.

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