Tiffany Rises on Solid Earnings

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Tiffany & Co. (NYSE: TIF) reported its fiscal third-quarter financial earnings before the markets opened on Tuesday. The company said that it had $0.76 in earnings per share (EPS) and $949 million in revenue, versus consensus estimates that called for $0.67 in EPS and revenue of $924.64 million. The same period of last year reportedly had EPS of $0.70 and $938.2 million in revenue.

During this quarter, comparable store sales declined 2%. A modest increase in fashion jewelry sales was offset by softness in other product categories.

The company repurchased approximately 455,000 shares of its common stock in the third quarter, leaving a remaining $313 million available in the current plan.

In terms of the guidance for the current year, Tiffany expects worldwide net sales to decline by a low single-digit percentage from the prior year and for EPS to decline by a mid-single-digit percentage. The consensus estimates are $4 billion in revenue for this current year, down from $4.1 billion in the previous fiscal year.

On the books, Tiffany cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments totaled $787 million at the end of this quarter, versus $725 million in the same period from last year.

Frederic Cumenal, CEO of Tiffany, commented:

We are encouraged by some early signs of improvement in sales trends, but we clearly need more positive data over time before this can be considered an inflection point. In this recent quarter, we saw a smaller sales decline in the U.S. from earlier this year, while Asia-Pacific results reflected strong growth in mainland China and a relatively smaller decline in Hong Kong. Our business in Japan performed well which we attribute to spending by domestic consumers, but we believe the strengthening of the yen has negatively impacted purchases by Chinese consumers. We also saw relative strength in UK sales, but a continuation of softness on the European continent.

Shares of Tiffany closed Monday at $78.14, with a consensus analyst price target of $79.40 and a 52-week trading range of $56.99 to $81.89. Following the release of the report, the stock was up about 5% at $82.13 in early trading indications Tuesday.