By Michelle Graff
Tiffany-blue taxi cabs lined up outside the jeweler’s New York City flagship store earlier this spring. The retailer conceived a creative marketing campaign to mark the launch of the “Paper Flowers” collection, and CEO Alessandro Bogliolo said the retailer is “pleased” with customer reactions to both so far.
New York—Tiffany & Co.’s turnaround plan seems to be working.

On Tuesday, the New York-based retailer reported better-than-expected second quarter and first half results, and raised its guidance for the full year.

In the Americas region (United States, Canada, Mexico, Brazil and Chile), total net sales rose 8 percent in both the first half and second quarter, with same-store sales rising 9 percent and 8 percent, respectively. (Percentage increases were the same on a constant-exchange-rate basis.)

Sales rose across most of the region, Tiffany said, with spending by local customers—not tourists—accounting for the increase.

Worldwide, net sales increased 12 percent (11 percent on a constant-exchange-rate basis) to $1.1 billion in the second quarter, with same-store sales rising 8 percent (7 percent on a constant-exchange-rate basis).

Meanwhile, first-half total sales were up 13 percent (11 percent on a constant-exchange-rate basis) to $2.1 billion and comps rose 9 percent (7 percent on a constant-exchange-rate basis).

Net earnings increased 26 percent year-over-year in the second quarter and 38 percent in the first half of the year.

Gross margin improved from 62.5 percent to 64 percent in the second quarter, and from 62.3 percent to 63.5 percent in the first half.

In the company news release announcing the results, CEO Alessandro Bogliolo teased the introduction of what he called an “innovative diamond ring concept,” Tiffany True, in North America in the second half of the year, along with a special focus on product personalization, high jewelry and a “whimsical holiday campaign.”

He also said: “While in the early stages of addressing our six key strategic priorities, we are pleased with initial customer reaction to our new communication, product and in-store initiatives. The launch of ‘Paper Flowers’ … is moving toward full global distribution, and we believe our evolved brand message is gaining momentum.”

The retailer backed the launch of Paper Flowers with a new marketing campaign, “Believe in Dreams,” which involved painting the town its signature robin’s egg blue, covering New York City icons like taxi cabs and subway stations in the cool tone.

Paper Flowers is the first new major collection since Tiffany Keys in 2009 and the first designed under Reed Krakoff.

It helped propel the company’s in-house jewelry lines to become the top performer of 2018 so far, with Tiffany Jewelry Collections outselling both engagement rings and designer lines from Paloma Picasso and Elsa Peretti.

Looking ahead to the remainder of 2018, the retailer has increased its financial guidance.

Tiffany now forecasts sales will rise by a high-single-digit percentage over last year, though it does expect operating margin to sink due to significant selling, general and administrative expense growth, which includes the money it is spending to renovate its Fifth Avenue flagship and increased investments in marketing and technology.

“We believe that the thoughtful combination of making short- and long-range strategic investments is necessary to achieve the full growth potential of this legendary brand,” Bogliolo said.

Tiffany ended the second quarter with 320 stores worldwide, up from 312 a year ago.

Its store count in the Americas remained largely flat year-over-year: 123 as of July 31 compared with 124 at the same point last year.

Get the Daily News >
National Jeweler

Fine Jewelry Industry News

Since 1906, National Jeweler has been the must-read news source for smart jewelry professionals--jewelry retailers, designers, buyers, manufacturers, and suppliers. From market analysis to emerging jewelry trends, we cover the important industry topics vital to the everyday success of jewelry professionals worldwide. National Jeweler delivers the most urgent jewelry news necessary for running your day-to-day jewelry business here, and via our daily e-newsletter, website and other specialty publications, such as "The State of the Majors." National Jeweler is published by Jewelers of America, the leading nonprofit jewelry association in the United States.