Tiffany & Co. loses $65M as coronavirus shutters stores

Sales fell 45% from a year ago

Tiffany & Co. swung to a first-quarter loss as temporary store closings due to the COVID-19 pandemic caused a “significant” sales drop.

The New York-based jeweler lost $65 million, or 53 cents a share, as worldwide net revenue plunged 45 percent year-over-year to $556 million. Wall Street analysts surveyed by Refinitiv were expecting adjusted earnings of 3 cents a share on revenue of $700.8 million.

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“The first quarter was very challenging with sales and earnings significantly impacted by COVID-19,” CEO Alessandro Bogliolo said in a statement. “I am confident Tiffany’s best days remain in front of us because there is evidence that the strategic decisions we took to focus on our mainland China domestic business, global e-commerce, and new product innovation are paying off -- even against the backdrop of a global pandemic.”

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Mainland China was the top-performing market during the quarter, which began in February, as sales spiked 30 percent in April after falling 85 percent and 15 percent, respectively, during the first two months. Strength in China continued in May as revenue there soared 90 percent despite global sales falling 40 percent. About 85 percent of the company's stores in the region had been reopened by April.

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Meanwhile, U.S. sales fell 45 percent to $225 million while revenue in Japan and Europe declined 40 percent to $86 million and $61 million, respectively.

Tiffany finished the quarter with $1.06 billion cash, up 18 percent from a year ago.

Shares have dropped 8.58 percent year-to-date while the S&P 500 is little changed.