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Instant Analysis: Tiffany & Co. Reports Holiday Sales Figures

By Eric Volkman - Jan 20, 2016 at 8:28AM

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The company posts declines in net and "comp" sales.

What happened?
Top jewelry retailer Tiffany & Co. (TIF) posted its results for the 2015 holiday season. For the period, which Tiffany considers to be the two-month stretch ending Dec. 31, global net sales came in at $961 million, a 6% year-over-year drop on a U.S. dollar basis. On a constant-currency basis, the decline was 3%. Comparable-store sales (i.e., in outlets that have been open at least one year) fell by 5%.

Going forward, the company slimmed its guidance. For fiscal 2015 (which ends Jan. 31), it expects per-share earnings to decline by 10% compared to the previous year; the previous estimate was for a 5% to 10% drop; diluted  EPS for 2014 was $4.20. The company did not proffer guidance for fiscal 2016, but did say that it "believes that the strong dollar and global macro challenges will likely result in minimal growth in net sales and net earnings ... for the year."

As of the end of the 2015 holiday period, Tiffany & Co. operated 307 stores, compared to the year-ago figure of 296.

Does it matter?
The factors that Tiffany & Co. believes will dampen future earnings were in force during the holiday season, according to the company. It described the "pressure" from the strengthened U.S. dollar (which generally makes goods more expensive for those shopping in foreign currency) as a key factor in the holiday period declines. Additionally, it quoted its CEO Frederic Cumenal as saying that "overall sales results were negatively affected by restrained consumer spending tied to challenging and uncertain global economic conditions."

That one-two punch continues to hurt the high-end apparel and accessories segment. Coach (TPR 0.48%), like Tiffany, derives a big chunk of its sales abroad. In its most recently reported quarter, Coach's net sales saw a year-over-year dip in no small part because of the stronger greenback.

Tiffany & Co.'s latest set of figures (and its downbeat guidance) confirm that these struggles are continuing, both for it and fellow high-end fashion purveyors like Coach.

Eric Volkman has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Coach. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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