Why Tiffany Earnings and Outlook May Have Been Just Good Enough

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Tiffany & Co. (NYSE: TIF) reported first-quarter 2019 results before markets opened Tuesday morning. The luxury goods company posted diluted earnings per share (EPS) of $1.03 on revenues of $1 billion. In the same period a year ago, Tiffany said it EPS of $1.14 and revenue of $1.03 billion. First-quarter results also compare to consensus estimates calling for EPS of $1.02 and $1.02 billion in revenue.

On a constant currency basis, quarterly net sales were flat and same-store sales declined by 2%. On a GAAP basis, worldwide net sales dropped by 3% and same-store sales fell 5%.

First-quarter same-store sales in the company’s Americas region fell by 4% and same-store sales fell by 5%. On a constant currency basis, both total sales and same-store sales fell by 4%.

To keep investors from stampeding to the exits, Tiffany raised its quarterly dividend by 5%, from $0.55 to $0.58 per share.

CEO Alessandro Bogliolo, who took the reins in October, said:

Our first quarter results reflect significant foreign exchange headwinds and dramatically lower worldwide spending attributed to foreign tourists. That said, we were pleased that, at the core of our business, global sales attributed to local customers, led by sales in China, grew over last year’s very strong sales results.

In its outlook statement, Tiffany said it expects fiscal year 2019 revenues and EPS to rise by a low-single-digit percentage year over year, although second-quarter EPS is forecast to fall as a result of continued pressure from lower foreign tourist spending and difficult comparisons to 2018’s record second-quarter results.

The consensus analysts’ EPS estimate for the second quarter is $1.11, down from last year’s actual second-quarter EPS of $1.17. For the full year, the consensus estimate calls for EPS of $4.98 and revenues of $4.56 billion.

Last year was a banner year for luxury goods. According to Deloitte Global’s latest report on luxury sales, for the 12 months ended in June 2018, the world’s top 100 luxury goods companies posted total revenues of $247 billion, up from $217 billion in the prior year, with growth reaching 10.8% compared to just 1% in 2017. But there’s a catch regarding China. Deloitte notes: “The protectionist policies of the US are a major threat to the economy, and as a result China is taking steps to insulate itself from the export market.” In other words, slowing growth in China could become a bigger issue for luxury goods sellers.

Shares traded up more than 2% in early trading Tuesday, at $92.68, after dropping nearly 3% when results were first announced. The stock’s 52-week range is $73.04 to $141.64. The 12-month consensus analyst price target was $112.26 before results were announced.

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