By Lenore Fedow
Tiffany & Co.’s engagement ring sales were down 3 percent over the holiday season while sales of jewelry collections ticked up 2 percent and designer jewelry sales fell 8 percent. Pictured here is the new engagement ring style the retailer introduced last year, Tiffany True.
New York—Tiffany’s sales fell short this holiday season as demand from Chinese tourists dipped, putting a damper on its full-year profit outlook.

Fewer people found an iconic Tiffany & Co. blue box under their trees, with worldwide net sales for the New York-based jeweler slipping 1 percent to $1.04 billion compared with $1.05 billion last year.

Worldwide same-store sales fell by 2 percent compared with the 5 percent uptick in the previous holiday season.

“We attribute the difference partly to lower sales to foreign (primarily Chinese) tourists globally, and to softening demand attributed to local customers in the Americas and Europe, which we believe may have been influenced more than expected by external events, uncertainties and market volatilities,” stated CEO Alessandro Bogliolo said.

Sales in the Americas, where the most Tiffany stores are located, dipped 1 percent to $514 million as both locals and foreign visitors spent less. Same-stores sales remained equal to last year.

European sales were down 4 percent to $132 million, with same-store sales dropping 5 percent.

Asia-Pacific sales declined 3 percent to $226 million as same-stores sales were down 4 percent. While Tiffany pointed to strong growth in mainland China, it noted that demand softened in other markets that rely heavily on foreign tourist spending.

Japan was the shining exception, reporting a 4 percent increase in sales to $150 million as local customers spent more. Same-stores sales also were up 4 percent.

Sales from the “other” segment, which includes five Tiffany stores in the United Arab Emirates, sank 11 percent to $132 million, despite having an additional location in the region this holiday season.

There were 321 Tiffany stores in operation as of Dec. 31, five more than the previous year.

Breaking it down by category, sales of jewelry collections, lines like Tiffany T and Paper Flowers, rose by 2 percent while engagement jewelry sales fell 3 percent.

Sales of jewelry from designers Elsa Peretti, Paloma Picasso and Tiffany & Co. Schlumberger dipped 8 percent.

For the year ahead, Tiffany expects full-year profit to be between $4.65 and $4.80 per share, at the lower end of its previous guidance.

Annual sales are expected to rise 6 to 7 percent, compared with its prior guidance of a high-single-digit increase.

Signet Jewelers also reported a dip in sales this holiday season and lowered its full-year profit forecast as well.

Bogliolo, an industry veteran who took the reins at Tiffany in July 2017, said the plan is to double down on the six-step turnaround plan announced in 2018, which includes “amplifying an evolved brand message” and “delivering an exciting omnichannel customer experience”.

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.