Shares of jeweler Tiffany & Co. (TIF) dropped as much as 9.7% on Wednesday after reporting earnings that fell short of expectations. At 11:30 p.m. EDT, shares had recovered slightly, but were still down 7% on the day.
Sales rose 1% globally, to $899.6 million, on strength in Asia-Pacific and wholesale diamond sales, but were below analyst estimates of $913.7 million. Net income jumped from $87.5 million a year ago to $92.9 million, or $0.74 per share. That topped Wall Street's estimate of $0.70 per share.
Investors today focused on a 3% decline in comparable-store sales, which isn't usually a good sign for retail companies. Sales in the Americas were a big part of the problem. Comparable sales were down 4% versus a year ago, which management blamed on a decline in foreign tourism and local spending.
Tiffany's bottom-line improvement, despite a drop in sales, is a testament to its more focused business and better margins. But long-term investors would like to see more growth, and it appears that the high-end jewelry market just isn't as robust as it was a couple of years ago. With that said, shares still trade at only about 25 times trailing earnings, and this is a company with long-term staying power, so I see this current weakness as a great opportunity for long-term investors to buy into the stock.