Tiffany & Co Tiffany & Co. said Wednesday that worldwide net sales in the first quarter increased 13 percent, year-over-year, to $1 billion led by strong results in nearly all regions and product categories. On a constant-exchange-rate basis that excludes the effect of translating foreign-currency-denominated sales into U.S. dollars worldwide net sales rose 15 percent and comparable store sales rose 11 percent due to growth in most regions.
The New York-based luxury jewelry retailer said the spike in sales was combined with an improved operating margin, resulting in a growth in net earnings to $126 million, or $0.97 per diluted share, from $84 million, or $0.65 per diluted share, in last year's first quarter when pre-tax expenses of $9 million, or $0.05 per diluted share, were recorded for staff and occupancy reductions. Excluding those expenses, net earnings rose 41 percent.
Tiffany also increased its earnings forecast for the current fiscal year.
Sales by region are as follows:
* In the Americas, total sales increased 8 percent to $439 million. On a constant-exchange-rate basis, total sales rose 9 percent and comparable store sales rose 8 percent, primarily due to geographically broad-based growth across the U.S.
* In Asia-Pacific, total sales rose 17 percent to $261 million. On a constant-exchange-rate basis, total sales increased 19 percent and comparable store sales rose 10 percent with noteworthy growth throughout Greater China and in Australia.
* In Japan, total sales surged 20 percent to $174 million. On a constant-exchange-rate basis eliminating the negative effect of a weaker yen versus the U.S. dollar, total sales and comparable store sales rose 29 percent and 30 percent.
* In Europe, total sales rose 9 percent to $101 million. On a constant-exchange-rate basis, total sales rose 2 percent and comparable store sales declined 3 percent. Trends were similar in the U.K. and in continental Europe.
* Other sales increased 39 percent to $37 million, primarily due to retail sales growth which included 18 percent comparable store sales growth in the United Arab Emirates and the opening of the first company-operated Tiffany & Co. store in Russia. Other sales also benefited from an increase in wholesale sales of diamonds; such diamonds are a result of the company's rough diamond sourcing operations.
"This is an excellent and encouraging start to the year," said Michael J. Kowalski, Tiffany chairman and CEO. "We were pleased with the strong and broad-based sales growth across most regions and product categories and our ability to leverage those improved sales into very significant growth in operating and net earnings. Strength in fine and statement jewelry sales continued, while sales of our new or expanded jewelry collections accelerated, led by our ATLAS collection."
Based on the results, Tiffany increased its earnings forecast for the fiscal year ending January 31, 2015, to a range of $4.15-$4.25 per diluted share, versus its previously-published forecast of $4.05-$4.15 per diluted share.
Tiffany opened four stores in the first quarter (including a store on the Champs Elysees in Paris) and closed one in the US. The company now operates 292 stores (121 in the Americas, 72 in Asia-Pacific, 55 in Japan, 38 in Europe, five in the U.A.E. and one in Russia), versus 275 stores a year ago.
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