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Thursday, August 25, 2016

Tiffany And Signet Report Declines In Second Quarter Sales


Two of the most important jewelers in North America report a decline in total sales and comparable store sales during the second quarter of 2016.

Tiffany & Co.
The luxury retail jeweler said worldwide net sales for the second quarter fell 6 percent to $932 million and comparable store sales dropped 8 percent, year-over-year. Exchange rates seemed to have little effect on the global declines, with the exception of Japan. On a constant-exchange-rate basis, worldwide net sales and comparable store sales declined 6 percent and 9 percent, respectively.

Sales declines were reported throughout all of its regions, with the exception of Japan. The company, which operates 311 stores around the world, attributes the drop in sales to decreased activity from local customers and foreign tourists.

The latest quarter brings worldwide net sales to $1.8 billion for the first half of the year—7 percent below the first half of the prior year and comparable store sales declined 9 percent. On a constant-exchange-rate basis, worldwide net sales and comparable store sales declined 6 percent and 9 percent, respectively.

“The global environment continues to reflect well known challenges that we believe have had broad effects on spending by local customers, as well as foreign tourists, especially from China,” said Frederic Cumenal, Tiffany & Co. CEO. “We are managing expenses efficiently, but also maintaining our marketing spending as a percentage of sales and continuing to invest in key strategic initiatives and opportunities to further strengthen Tiffany's competitive position among global luxury brands.”

Net sales by region are as follows:

In the Americas, total sales of $434 million in the second quarter and $837 million in the first half were both 9 percent below last year, with declines of 9 percent and 10 percent, respectively, in comparable store sales. On a constant-exchange-rate basis, total sales and comparable store sales declined 8 percent and 9 percent, respectively, in both the second quarter and first half. Tiffany attributed the declines to lower spending by U.S. customers as well as by Chinese and other foreign tourists.

In the Asia-Pacific region, total sales of $230 million in the second quarter and $469 million in the first half were down 6 percent and 7 percent, respectively, lower than the prior year, and comparable store sales declined 12 percent and 13 percent, respectively. On a constant-exchange-rate basis, total sales and comparable store sales declined 3 percent and 9 percent, respectively, in the second quarter and 4 percent and 11 percent, respectively, in the first half. Sales growth in China and Korea was offset by a continuation of significant declines in Hong Kong and more moderate declines in most other markets.

In Japan, total sales increased 10 percent to $138 million in the second quarter and rose 9 percent to $269 million in the first half. Comparable store sales increased of 13 percent and 12 percent, respectively. However, on a constant-exchange-rate basis, total sales and comparable store sales declined 5 percent and 3 percent, respectively, in the second quarter and declined 2 percent and rose 1 percent, respectively, in the first half. Management noted lower spending by Chinese tourists in both periods.

In Europe, total sales declined 12 percent to $111 million in the second quarter and 11 percent to $208 million in the first half of 2016. Comparable store sales fell 17 percent and 16 percent for the period. On a constant-exchange-rate basis, total sales and comparable store sales declined 8 percent and 13 percent, respectively, in the second quarter and 7 percent and 13 percent, respectively, in the first half. Lower sales in continental Europe were attributed to weak demand by foreign tourists and local customers, in contrast to better performance in the UK.

Other sales declined 3 percent to $18 million in the second quarter and 20 percent to $40 million in the first half, reflecting comparable store sales declines of 22 percent and 21 percent, respectively. Management noted lower retail sales in the United Arab Emirates and an increase in wholesale sales of diamonds.


Signet Jewelers
The dominate retail jeweler in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. reported a year-over-year sales decline of 2.6 percent to $1.37 billion. Total sales on a constant currency basis declined 1.3 percent. Comparable store sales decreased 2.3 percent compared to an increase of 4.2 percent in the second quarter of the prior year.

The company said “the decline was fairly broad-based across most store banners and merchandise categories and was particularly pronounced in energy-producing regions.”

“We are disappointed by our Q2 results and market conditions have been challenging particularly in the energy-dependent regions,” added Mark Light, Signet Jewelers CEO. “We achieved some important wins in the second quarter. Select diamond fashion jewelry, bracelets, and earrings sold well. We saw success in a variety of selling channels including outlets, kiosks, and on-line due to improvements in our consumer websites and mobile sites. The Zale integration is running well and synergies remain on target. We remain confident in the medium and long-term prospects of our business.”

Signet Jewelers second quarter sales by operating segment is as follows:

• The Sterling Jewelers division (which consists of U.S. retail chains Kay, Jared and regional US brands) saw comparable store sales fall 3.1 percent with the average transaction value down 0.8 percent. The company attributed this to “relatively stronger sales of several fashion and diamond jewelry collections as compared to higher-priced bridal jewelry.” The number of transactions decreased 3 percent. 

• Zale Jewelry division (which includes Zale and Gordon stores in the US, Canada and Puerto Rico along with Peoples Mappins stores in Canada) saw same store sales decrease by 3 percent. ATV increased 1.2 percent “driven by higher sales of select diamond jewelry collections,” the company said. The number of transactions decreased 4 percent.

• Piercing Pagoda's same store sales increased 6.4 percent. ATV increased 17 percent while the number of transactions decreased 7.7 percent. The higher sales “were driven principally by strong sales of gold chains and diamond jewelry. Transactions declined primarily due to fewer piercings.”

• In the UK Jewelry division (which consists of H.Samuel and Ernest Jones) same store sales increased 0.8 percent. ATV increased 2.5 percent “driven principally by strong sales of diamond jewelry and prestige watches,” while the number of transactions decreased 3 percent due to lower sales in fashion watches, the company said. 
Ecommerce sales, which have seen robust growth in recent years, continued this path in the second quarter with a 5.6 percent increase to $69.6 million. This total accounts for 5.1 percent of total sales for the period. 

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