Tiffany stories fourth quarter 2018 earnings

Tiffany shares fell Friday after the company reported a 1 percent drop in sales worldwide during the holiday quarter, citing “external challenges and uncertainties.”

Its stock was down more than 5 percent in pre-market trading following the earnings release.

The luxury jewelry retailer said net sales fell to $1.321 billion during its fiscal fourth quarter, while analysts had been expecting sales of $1.332 billion, according to a Refinitiv survey.

Tiffany reported net earnings of $204.5 million, or $1.67 a share, compared with $61.9 million, or 50 cents per share, a year ago. That was slightly ahead of analysts’ expectations for earnings per share of $1.60.

Sales at Tiffany stores open for at least 12 months dipped 1 percent overall, while analysts had forecast growth of 0.8 percent.

The retailer earlier this year said sales during the holiday season fell unexpectedly as Chinese tourists spent less, and demand for its diamonds softened in Europe. Tiffany has typically been reliant on Chinese shoppers to boost sales. But uncertain and ongoing trade talks between the U.S. and China have posed a larger threat for luxury retailers, like Tiffany, that have benefited from that geography in the past.

“I continue to strongly believe that Tiffany has vast global growth opportunities and we look forward to realizing our full potential in the future,” CEO Alessandro Bogliolo said on Friday.

During the fourth quarter, Tiffany said net sales in the Americas were flat compared with a year ago, in Asia-Pacific they were down 1 percent, in Japan they grew 3 percent, and in Europe they dropped 3 percent.

The company is expecting net sales worldwide to increase by a low-single-digit percentage in fiscal 2019, with net earnings declining during the first half of the year, due to “sales pressures” from lower tourism spending. Analysts had been calling for revenue to be up 6.9 percent for the year.

As of Thursday’s market close, Tiffany’s stock had rallied more than 24 percent so far this year.

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