Tiffany’s Sparkle Dims as Q1 Sales Drop 7%

The jeweler has been hurt by the strong dollar but analysts believe the brand is also not resonating with millennial shoppers.
Katie Kuehner-HebertMay 25, 2016

Tiffany on Wednesday posted lower-than-expected results for the first quarter, citing continued weak demand by both domestic customers and foreign tourists.

The jeweler said net earnings fell 16.6% to $87 million, including a tax benefit of 5 cents per diluted share related to the settlement of a tax examination.

Excluding one-time items, net earnings were 64 cents a share, four pennies lower than what analysts had expected, according to The Street. Total sales fell 7% to $891 million, well below analysts’ expectations of $915 million and Tiffany’s biggest drop in quarterly sales since the peak of the global financial crisis.

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“As expected, this was a difficult quarter in terms of both sales and earnings growth,” Tiffany’s Chief Executive Frederic Cumenal said in a news release. “We faced numerous challenges, including continued pressure from foreign tourist spending in Europe, the U.S. and Asia, particularly in Hong Kong.”

As Reuters reports, the strong dollar has discouraged tourists from buying Tiffany’s high-end jewelry. Same-store sales in the Asia Pacific region, Tiffany’s second biggest market, slumped 15% in the first quarter.

But according to CNBC, analysts are also attributing Tiffany’s struggles to a lack of interest from millennial shoppers, who see the brand as “old world luxury.”

“We continue to wonder if there is something beyond the macro, and more about the Tiffany brand itself not resonating with certain customers,” Citi analyst Paul Lejuez told investors Wednesday.

Sales of Tiffany merchandise that costs less than $500 — a more attainable price for younger millennial shoppers — once again lagged during the first quarter, as did its more affordable silver jewelry, CNBC noted.

For the second quarter, Tiffany expects second-quarter earnings to fall 15% from the second quarter of 2015, while analysts had expected an 8.1% drop. “We are continuing to take actions that are intended to strengthen sales growth with local customers in the U.S. and around the world,” Cumenal said.

Among other things, the company last month began a limited-time partnership with the Net-a-Porter fashion website.