|Holiday sales at Tiffany's New York flagship fell 1 percent.|
Tiffany & Co. said Tuesday that its worldwide net sales in the two months ended December 31 increased 7 percent, year-over-year, to $952 million with robust sales in Asia were offset by weaker sales growth in the U.S. and Europe.
“After achieving very strong and better-than-expected sales and earnings growth in the first three quarters of 2011, sales weakened markedly in the United States and Europe during the holiday season, reflecting restrained spending by consumers for fine jewelry,” said Michael J. Kowalski, Tiffany chairman and CEO.
The luxury jeweler reported double-digit sales growth in Asia-Pacific and Japan regions and smaller increases in the Americas and Europe. On a constant-exchange-rate basis excluding the effect of translating foreign-currency-denominated sales into U.S. dollars, worldwide net sales rose 6 percent and same store sales increased 4 percent.
In the Americas region—which includes the United States, Canada and Latin America—sales rose 4 percent to $503 million. On a constant-exchange-rate basis, total sales increased 4 percent and same store sales rose 2 percent—with same Americas' branch store sales rose 3 percent and New York flagship store sales declined 1 percent). Higher sales to tourists from outside the U.S. were partly offset by weakness in spending by U.S. customers. Combined Internet and catalog sales in the Americas were 4 percent below last year.
Sales in the Asia-Pacific region increased 19 percent to $165 million. On a constant-exchange-rate basis, total sales increased 18 percent and same store sales increased 12 percent due to growth in most countries.
In Japan, sales increased 13 percent to $160 million. On a constant-exchange-rate basis, total sales rose 5 percent and same store sales increased 6 percent.
Sales in Europe increased 1 percent to $117 million. On a constant-exchange-rate basis, total sales increased 2 percent and same store sales declined 4 percent, reflecting modest sales growth in Continental Europe and lower sales in the U.K.
The Company currently operates 246 stores (102 in the Americas, 57 in Asia-Pacific, 55 in Japan and 32 in Europe), versus 232 (96 in the Americas, 51 in Asia-Pacific, 56 in Japan and 29 in Europe) a year ago.
Other sales, which primarily include wholesale sales of finished products to independent distributors within emerging markets and wholesale sales of rough diamonds, increased 8 percent to $8 million.
“We are now estimating that earnings per diluted share for the fiscal year ending January 31, 2012 will increase 23 percent – 25 percent to a range of $3.60 - $3.65. This estimate compares with a prior forecast made in November of $3.70 - $3.80 per diluted share and our initial fiscal 2011 outlook provided last March of $3.35 - $3.45 per diluted share,” Kowalski said. “We are in the preliminary stages of financial planning for 2012 and will provide more detailed guidance when we report our full year financial results in March.”