NEW YORK — Tiffany & Co.’s 175th anniversary and its Great Gatsby movie tie-in collection drove the jeweler’s better-than-expected financial results for the first quarter ended April 30, which included Valentine’s Day.
The jeweler had worldwide net sales of $895 million, an increase of 9% from $819,170 for the same period last year. On a constant exchange rate basis that excludes the effect of translating foreign currency denominated sales into U.S. dollars, worldwide net sales increased 13% and comparable store sales rose 8%.
The company’s net earnings were $84 million, up 3% from the prior year’s $82 million.
“We are pleased with this start to the year. Worldwide, first quarter sales exceeded our expectations, enabling us to improve our sales leverage on fixed expenses and achieve earnings growth,” said chairman and CEO Michael J. Kowalski. “In addition, we celebrated Tiffany’s 175th anniversary with our very successful Blue Book event and promotional activities surrounding the debut of the film The Great Gatsby, for which we designed the jewelry.”
In the Americas region, total sales rose 6% to $408 million. On a constant exchange rate basis, total sales increased 6%, while comparable store sales rose 3% with relatively stronger growth in the New York flagship store. Sales in New York benefitted from purchases by customers who attended the Blue Book event.
In Europe, total sales of $93 million were 6% higher than last year due to sales growth across continental Europe. On a constant exchange rate basis, total sales and comparable store sales rose 8% and 6%, respectively.
In the first quarter, Tiffany opened one store in Xi’an, China, and closed one in Taichung, Taiwan. The company currently operates 275 stores — 115 in the Americas, 66 in Asia-Pacific, 55 in Japan, 34 in Europe and 5 in the U.A.E. A year ago, the jeweler operated 251 stores — 105 in the Americas, 59 in Asia-Pacific, 55 in Japan and 32 in Europe.
“While first quarter sales and earnings exceeded our expectations, we are maintaining our earnings forecast for the full year, mindful of continuing soft sales results in the Americas and the negative translation effect of a weaker yen,” added Kowalski. “However, we remain focused on exciting initiatives for this year, including jewelry introductions highlighted by our Great Gatsby and Ziegfeld collections, the Harmony engagement ring and a reinterpretation of our iconic Atlas collection. Tiffany’s global store base is growing this year with a planned net addition of 14 stores, and we will be launching our redesigned website later this year.”