New York--Tiffany & Co. reported Tuesday that worldwide sales rose 1 percent year-over-year in the third quarter on the back of strong sales of gold “T” collection jewelry and stabilizing silver sales.
However, the retailer reported a 2 percent drop in comps, weakness in sales of higher-end jewelry and loss of foot traffic at its Fifth Avenue flagship store at an inopportune time of year.
Tiffany’s total sales reached $949.3 million in the third quarter ended Oct. 31, up from $938.2 million in the prior-year period.
Net earnings were up 5 percent.
In the Americas, total sales were down 2 percent in the quarter to $417 million, with a modest decline in the number of units sold offset by an increase in price per unit.
Same-store sales also declined 2 percent.
During the company’s earnings call Tuesday morning, Vice President of Investor Relations Mark Aaron said that U.S. consumers spent less because of macro, market and political uncertainties, while increased spending from tourists from Japan and other countries offset lower spending by Chinese tourists.
Regarding the jeweler’s Fifth Avenue flagship, which has been the subject of numerous post-election impact stories given its proximity to President-elect Donald Trump’s eponymous tower, he said: “What we’ve seen has been some adverse effect on traffic in our flagship store, as well as a continuation of sales softness relative to last year and to our other U.S. stores this year.”
Overall, Aaron called the retailer’s third quarter results “mixed,” with some bright spots in terms of geography and product categories but softness in other areas making it “premature to say that there has been a meaningful turn in the business.”
As of Oct. 31, Tiffany had 313 stores worldwide, including 125 in the Americas, compared with 305 stores a year ago, including 125 in the Americas.
On Tuesday’s call, new Chief Financial Officer Mark Erceg, who started with the company in October, said Tiffany plans to have opened a total of 11 company-operated stores in the full fiscal year, while closing six and relocating six others, including its store in the mall in King of Prussia, Pa.
Overall, Tiffany’s square footage will increase by 3 percent on the year.
He said the company remains cautious in its near-term outlook given that global economic conditions remain volatile.
Erceg too noted “minor disruptions” in foot traffic at the company’s flagship store, which accounted for less than 10 percent of global sales in every quarter last year.
However, given the importance of the holiday selling season, he said Tiffany remains “understandably cautious” in analyzing how this situation might impact sales in the coming weeks.
Tiffany is maintaining its previous guidance of a low single digit drop in sales for the fiscal year.