By Lenore Fedow
Iconic jeweler Tiffany & Co.’s worldwide sales fell by 1 percent in the fourth quarter.

New York—Tiffany & Co.’s worldwide sales dipped by 1 percent in the fourth quarter, weighed down by a weak holiday season.

The retailer had attributed its disappointing holiday sales to a decrease in spending by Chinese tourists and softening demand in the Americas and Europe.

Fourth-quarter net sales totaled $1.32 billion, compared with $1.33 billion in the fourth quarter 2017.

Sales in the Americas, where the most Tiffany stores are located, were flat compared with a year ago at $618 million, which the company said was due to foreign tourists spending less. Same-stores sales were flat as well.

European sales were down 3 percent to $162 million, again linked to a decline in tourist spending. Same-store sales dipped by 5 percent.

Asia-Pacific sales, meanwhile, declined 1 percent to $316 million as sales slowed in mainland China, and same-store sales were down by 3 percent.

Japan was the exception, reporting a 3 percent increase in sales to $196 million, as both locals and foreign tourists spent more. Comps climbed 3 percent.

Sales from the “other” segment, which includes five Tiffany stores in the United Arab Emirates, were down 25 percent to $29 million due to a decline in wholesale sales of diamonds as well as a dip in same-store sales.

In terms of categories, jewelry collection sales, which includes lines like Tiffany T and Paper Flowers, rose by 3 percent in the fourth quarter. Engagement jewelry sales fell 3 percent, and sales of jewelry from designers Elsa Peretti, Paloma Picasso and Tiffany & Co. Schlumberger dropped 8 percent.

The fourth-quarter decline capped off what was otherwise a strong year for Tiffany.

Worldwide net sales for the full year climbed 7 percent higher to $4.4 billion with same-stores sales up 4 percent.

Total annual sales in the Americas rose by 5 percent, clocking in at $2 billion, while same-store sales for the region increased by 5 percent.

Looking to fiscal 2019, the company forecasts worldwide net sales to increase by a low-single-digit percentage.

Net sales are expected to decrease in the first half of the year due to a dip in tourism spending, a stark contrast to the nearly 7 percent increase in revenue analysts had forecasted.

Despite the lackluster results, CEO Alessandro Bogliolo said that he continues to “strongly believe that Tiffany has vast global growth opportunities, and we look forward to realizing our full potential in the future.”

As of Jan. 31, there were 321 Tiffany stores in operation, compared with 315 a year ago.

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