Alessandro Bogliolo’s vision for Tiffany & Co. is coming into focus.
The Bulgari veteran, who became chief executive officer at the New York jeweler in October, used the company’s fourth-quarter conference call with Wall Street to give an update on his “strategic assessment” of the business.
Bogliolo also laid out something of his style, pointing to the strength of the brand, comparing and contrasting it with Bulgari and touting how Tiffany, at least in a sense, catered to Millennials before there were Millennials.
“Our mission is to be makers of beauty, creators of joy,” said Bogliolo, sounding the notes of both a pitchman and cheerleader. “Simply put, Tiffany brings beautiful, enduring designs to love and life that will be cherished for generations.”
Bogliolo said the brand was in a period of evolution and had all the components necessary to show some of the snappier growth seen by the brand’s luxury competitors.
To unleash that potential, he set his eye on six priorities.
* Amplifying an evolved brand message.
* Renewing the company’s product offerings and improving the in-store presentation.
* Delivering a seamless omnichannel customer experience.
* Cultivating a more efficient operating model.
* Inspire and align an agile organization.
* Strengthen Tiffany’s competitive position and lead in key markets.
Bogliolo said the six priorities focus the business on Millennials, a customer base that he said the brand has catered to extensively.
“Tiffany, having been so strong historically with the engagement business and also with the gift business, has been the brand of choice for younger customers that were there for graduation, for engagement, for marrying,” he said, arguing that, “Tiffany, because of its past, has been the brand of Millennials” for 180 years.
Getting more of them to come to the stores and click into tiffany.com has been something of a trick lately.
In the fourth quarter, the company’s net profits fell to $61.9 million from $157.8 million a year earlier. But excluding tax and other charges, Tiffany said profits rose 15 percent to $208 million as sales increased 8.5 percent to $1.33 billion. But comparable sales rose just 1 percent, below the 2.7 percent gain analysts were reportedly projecting.
To get growth up more, Bogliolo plans to spend, for instance, to build technological infrastructure, and to make better use of the brand.
“We have had newness also in the past few years,” he said. “The point was that, that newness was probably not as distinctive as the one that we would like to have in the future to really make a difference. I think that the brand has been a little bit understated during the last period of time. So nothing was really wrong but I think we can pepper up and increase the things that we are doing well and we can just do it more intensively, faster and with a bigger impact on the market.”
Some signs of that should be come more apparent when Reed Krakoff, chief artistic officer, introduces his first jewelry collection, which should be along shortly.
Expect some joy and youth.
When asked on the call to compare Tiffany with Bulgari, Bogliolo said: “Tiffany is more understated, younger and also more joyful than Bulgari as a brand, and this for me, is very important because this is the DNA of the brand. It’s the way the brand is. It is like the personality of the person. There is not good or bad personality. Everybody has its own personality, but the fact of being so younger, joyful and understated I think is the right opportunity for Tiffany because this is very much in line with the changes that are going on in the luxury experience in the space…Luxury is no longer equal to formality.…Now, luxury is meaningful to a larger audience.”