Luxury jeweller Tiffany & Co said net sales increased 8 percent to $819 million and net earnings rose 1 percent to [[ArticleContent]].64 per diluted share in its fiscal first quarter ended April 30, 2012.
"In terms of our sales for the first quarter, regions outside the Americas performed generally as expected. However, the Americas region underperformed, continuing a soft trend that began in the last quarter of 2011 and compounded by the difficult comparison to substantial sales growth in last year's first quarter. These sales results led to net earnings modestly trailing our expectations," said Michael J. Kowalski, company chairman and CEO.
According to the company, net earnings increased 1 percent to $82 million, or [[ArticleContent]].64 per diluted share, versus $81 million, or [[ArticleContent]].63 per diluted share, in 2011.
Net earnings in the first quarter of 2011 had been reduced by [[ArticleContent]].04 per diluted share for non-recurring items related to the relocation of Tiffany's New York headquarters staff. Excluding those items, net earnings in the first quarter declined 5 percent from last year.
In the Americas region, sales rose 3 percent to $386 million. On a constant-exchange-rate basis, total Americas sales rose 3 percent and comparable store sales were flat (comparable branch store sales increased 1 percent and sales in the New York flagship store declined 4 percent) on top of a 17 percent increase in comparable store sales in last year's first quarter. Combined Internet and catalogue sales in the Americas increased 1 percent. The Americas region represents slightly less than half of worldwide sales.
Sales in the Asia-Pacific region increased 17 percent to $195 million. On a constant-exchange-rate basis, total sales rose 16 percent, while comparable store sales rose 10 percent (on top of 26 percent comparable store sales growth in last year's first quarter) due to increased sales in most countries.
In Japan, sales rose 15 percent to $142 million. On a constant-exchange-rate basis, total sales and comparable store sales rose 13 percent and 12 percent, respectively; comparable store sales had declined 3 percent in last year's first quarter.
Sales in Europe increased 3 percent to $88 million. On a constant-exchange-rate basis, total sales rose 7 percent while comparable store sales were equal to the prior year (versus 15 percent comparable store sales growth in last year's first quarter) with no meaningful difference between the UK and overall continental Europe.
The company opened four stores in the first quarter: in Mexico City, Montreal, Salt Lake City and Wuhan, China. On April 30, 2012, the company operated 251 stores (105 in the Americas, 59 in Asia-Pacific, 55 in Japan and 32 in Europe), compared with 232 stores (96 in the Americas, 52 in Asia-Pacific, 55 in Japan and 29 in Europe) a year ago.
Other sales declined 14 percent to $9 million due to lower wholesale sales of finished products to independent distributors.