Financial Performance

Hong Kong Unrest Disrupts Tiffany’s Q2 Sales

The luxury jeweler lost six selling days in its fourth-largest market during the second quarter because of pro-democracy protests.
Matthew HellerAugust 28, 2019
Hong Kong Unrest Disrupts Tiffany’s Q2 Sales

Tiffany reported quarterly sales on Wednesday that fell short of analysts’ estimates as “meaningful disruption” from protests in Hong Kong hurt its Asian business.

CEO Alessandro Bogliolo told analysts during an earnings call that the luxury jeweler lost six selling days in Hong Kong, its fourth-largest market, during the second quarter because of the pro-democracy protests.

Worldwide net sales dropped 3% to $1.05 billion while same-store sales fell 4%. Analysts had expected net sales of $1.06 billion and a 1.3% decline in comparable sales.

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But Tiffany’s shares rose 3.5% to $85.56 in trading Wednesday as investors apparently focused on earnings, which came in at $1.12 per share, beating estimates of $1.04.

“Our second quarter and first half results were mixed with sales coming in below, but net earnings exceeding, our expectations,” Bogliolio said in a news release. “As with the first quarter, we are encouraged in the second quarter by sales growth attributed to our local customer base globally, which was again led by double digit growth in mainland China.”

He cited headwinds including “weak demand from foreign tourists, currency exchange rate pressures and continuing business disruptions in Hong Kong.”

Sales in the Americas fell 4% to $455 million in the second quarter, while Asia-Pacific revenue dropped 1% to $298 million.

As CNBC reports, Tiffany’s “largest market, the Americas, has seen continued sales declines, despite Tiffany’s efforts to sell more directly to consumers and to revamp its flagship Fifth Avenue shop in Manhattan.”

The strong dollar has decreased spending by tourists visiting the U.S., with Bogliolo saying Wednesday that the “continued sharp decline in sales to both Chinese and all other tourists” reduced second-quarter sales by a couple of percentage points.

Tiffany also said that if the unrest worsens in Hong Kong, its full-year sales results could fall closer to the lower end of its current forecast. It is expecting earnings per share will rise by a low-to-mid-single digit percentage from last year.

The Hong Kong protests have “crippled the Asian financial center and ignited investor concerns,” CNBC noted.

Daniel Fung/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

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