Track the companies that matter to you. It's FREE! Click one of these fan favorites to get started: Apple; Google; Ford.



Why Tiffany Will Keep Sparkling

Watch stocks you care about

The single, easiest way to keep track of all the stocks that matter...

Your own personalized stock watchlist!

It's a 100% FREE Motley Fool service...

Click Here Now

After a slightly disappointing holiday season last year, it looks as if customers of Tiffany & Co. (NYSE: TIF  ) are once again hankering for the sophisticated jewelry and specialty items the swanky icon has to offer.

Other than slightly lower-than-expected EPS in its Q4 report, Tiffany had mostly good news to impart. Revenue slightly outpaced forecasts by $10 million, and the company noted strong sales worldwide. The company's outlook for 2012 is even better, with expectations of global sales increases of 10% and EPS of $0.31 to $0.41 higher than that forecast by analysts.

Things were a little dicey for Tiffany in 2011, and it wasn't alone. Holiday crowds held their spending in check and competitors Signet Jewelers (NYSE: SIG  ) and Zale also saw their margins squeezed by rising gold and gem prices. Zale has definitely been the poor cousin here, though, and rumors have been swirling that its best bet for survival is to be swallowed by Signet, which has weathered the recession with much more panache. Signet is looking to expand, and has hinted that an acquisition might be the preferred method of achieving that goal.

Internet diamond vendor Blue Nile (Nasdaq: NILE  ) has also had some hard times, barely weathering a perfect storm last November with a dreadful Q3 report followed by the resignation of its CEO. Fourth-quarter results also were subpar, missing badly on both EPS and revenue. The company blamed increased diamond costs and a lack of interest in its wares on the part of wealthy clients. Investors have punished the company's stock, which has lost more than 35% of its value from this time last year.

Tiffany has fared a bit better; well-heeled customers kept buying, but the midrange offerings didn't do as well. Still, January showed improvement and, unlike Blue Nile and Zale, Tiffany was able to increase prices, thereby successfully passing on higher commodity costs to customers while concurrently raising revenues at stores that had been open for business for a year or more.

Tiffany still looks good
The company's guidance for 2012 has allayed investors' fears somewhat, particularly after Tiffany cut its earnings forecast earlier in the year. The improving economy can only be good news for the jeweler, helping to bring back those less affluent shoppers. Personally, I believe the cachet of being a nearly 150-year-old jeweler with a flagship store on Manhattan's Fifth Avenue can't hurt, either.

The company is going forward with its expansion plans, on track to open 24 new stores in 2012, in line with its robust forecast for this year. The company has plenty of cash on hand, and even bumped up its dividend payment last year. It looks as if the recent blip was nothing more than a rough spot that is even now being polished to a lasting sheen.

Gold and diamonds can be great investments, but can't be counted upon to provide a comfy retirement. For that, you'll need an investment strategy that will churn out value over the long haul. Let The Motley Fool help by checking out our free report," 3 Stocks That Will Help You Retire Rich," and start planning your financial golden years today!

Fool contributor Amanda Alix owns no shares in the companies mentioned above.

Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Blue Nile. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying puts on Tiffany. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended creating a position in Blue Nile. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

Read/Post Comments (0) | Recommend This Article (1)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

Be the first one to comment on this article.

Compare Brokers

Fool Disclosure

Sponsored Links

Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 1838401, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 10/20/2016 9:06:21 PM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...

Today's Market

updated Moments ago Sponsored by:
DOW 18,162.35 -40.27 -0.22%
S&P 500 2,141.34 -2.95 -0.14%
NASD 5,241.83 -4.58 -0.09%

Create My Watchlist

Go to My Watchlist

You don't seem to be following any stocks yet!

Better investing starts with a watchlist. Now you can create a personalized watchlist and get immediate access to the personalized information you need to make successful investing decisions.

Data delayed up to 5 minutes

Related Tickers

10/20/2016 4:02 PM
TIF $72.79 Down -0.46 -0.63%
Tiffany and Co. CAPS Rating: **
NILE $35.20 Down -0.26 -0.73%
Blue Nile CAPS Rating: **
SIG $80.93 Up +0.03 +0.04%
Signet Jewelers CAPS Rating: **