(IDEX Online) – Tiffany & Co. reported that its worldwide net sales increased 8% to $1.05 billion in the two month holiday period ended December 31, 2017 due to growth across regions and product categories, and comparable store sales rose 5%. <?xml:namespace prefix = "o" ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /?>
On a constant-exchange-rate basis that excludes the effect of translating foreign-currency-denominated sales into U.S. dollars worldwide net sales rose 6% with comparable store sales up 3%. Results in the holiday period have led management to increase its net earnings guidance for the year ending January 31, 2018. Management is also introducing a preliminary earnings outlook for fiscal 2018.
Alessandro Bogliolo, Chief Executive Officer, said, "We were pleased with the improvement in sales during the holiday period across regions and categories, both instore and online. While our major Fashion Jewelry collections continued to perform well, customers were equally excited about our Fine Jewelry, our Watches and our new Home and Accessories collection. Some exceptional High Jewelry creations further contributed to the sales performance. This recent return to growth in worldwide comparable store sales, fueled by a substantial improvement in the Americas and Asia Pacific, is consistent with our commitment to generate solid and sustainable growth in sales, operating margin and earnings that is at least comparable to our industry peers over the long-term."
He added, "However, while we are encouraged with the holiday sales results, we believe that the preceding negative comparable store sales trend can only be reversed on a sustainable basis by continuing to evolve our product offerings and customer experience and also by stepping up certain strategic spending in our business, all of which is reflected in our preliminary 2018 plans and earnings outlook. Nonetheless, our holiday period results confirm that the TIFFANY & CO. brand is strong, and we are excited about our numerous long-term global opportunities to capitalize on that strength."
Net sales by region and product categories in the holiday period were as follows:
In the Americas, total sales increased 7% to $516 million and comparable store sales rose 6%. Management noted varying degrees of growth across most of the U.S., Canada and Latin America with higher spending attributed primarily to local customers. On a constant-exchange-rate basis, there was a 6% increase in both total sales and comparable store sales.
In the Asia-Pacific region, total sales increased 16% to $232 million, due to a 7% increase in comparable store sales, new store openings and an increase in wholesale sales. Management attributed retail sales growth primarily to higher spending by local customers, and particularly noted growth in mainland China, Hong Kong and Korea. On a constant-exchange-rate basis, total sales and comparable store sales increased 13% and 4%, respectively.
In Japan, total sales increased 1% to $145 million and comparable store sales were unchanged. Management noted a difficult comparison to exceptionally strong growth in spending attributed to local customers in last year's holiday period. There was no currency...