Tiffany posts mixed results in fourth quarter

Tiffany & Co. on Friday posted mixed results for the holiday season, with profit meeting estimates but revenue falling short because of low spending by Chinese tourists.

"Softer trends in the second half of the year reflected, in part, what we believe were external challenges and uncertainties," CEO Allessandro Bogliolo said in a statement.

Tiffany had said in January that sales slipped during the holiday season as Chinese tourists spent less while traveling due to the strong dollar, making it more expensive to buy Tiffany jewelry outside of its stores in China. The company also had said that it was it was hurt by the ups and downs of the stock market.

Tiffany reported fiscal fourth-quarter net income of $204.5 million. On a per-share basis, the New York-based company said it had net income of $1.67. Earnings, adjusted for pretax gains, came to $1.60 per share. The results matched Wall Street expectations.

The luxury jeweler posted revenue of $1.32 billion in the period ended Jan. 31, falling short of Street forecasts. Seven analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research expected $1.34 billion.

In the Americas, total net sales were unchanged in the fourth quarter. For the same region, same-store sales were unchanged for the latest quarter.

In the Asia-Pacific region, total net sales declined 1 percent, reflecting sales growth in mainland China and mixed results elsewhere. In Europe, net sales dropped 3 percent.

During an interview with The Associated Press on Friday, Bogliolo said that Chinese tourists tend to buy fewer conspicuous purchases like big diamond rings where they can see a big price difference because of the currency fluctuations. He also cited the impact from new regulations in China regarding luxury products bought abroad. He also noted the Chinese government has been promoting domestic buying. But he says he hasn't seen tensions between U.S. and China in the wake of trade talks having an impact on purchases at Tiffany.

For the year, the company reported profit of $586.4 million, or $4.75 per share. Revenue was reported as $4.44 billion.

Tiffany believes that net sales worldwide will be up by low-single digit percentages for the current fiscal year and foresees a net earnings declining during the first half of the year because of lower sales from depressed tourist spending and a stronger U.S. dollar.

Tiffany's shares rose more than 3 percent, or $3.27, to $103.33 in late morning trading.


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