Tiffany & Co. was able to limit the slide in its first-quarter earnings to 62.2 percent despite a steep revenue drop that included a 42 percent decline at its New York flagship.

This story first appeared in the June 1, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Still, the firm matched analysts’ estimates and reaffirmed full-year guidance as it noted a slight improvement in sales trends last month.

“Although it’s still too early to draw any conclusions, we are seeing a lessening in the rate of year-over-year total sales decline, as we expected,” said Michael Kowalski, chairman and chief executive officer of the New York-based luxury jeweler.

“May is less bad, but clearly there is not a turn in the luxury space yet,” said Pali Capital retail analyst Stacey Widlitz.

Net income for the period ended April 30 slid to $24.3 million, or 20 cents a diluted share, as revenues slumped 21.7 percent to $523.1 million. Excluding currency fluctuation, overall sales declined 18 percent while comps were off 21 percent.

Sales in the Americas fell 31 percent to $259 million. U.S. comparable-store sales, including the hard-hit flagship, slumped 34 percent.

Hurt by the stronger dollar, European sales dipped 8 percent to $55.6 million but were up 3 percent on a comp basis. Asia-Pacific sales fell 9 percent to $201.4 million as comps declined 9 percent.

On a Friday conference call, Mark Aaron, vice president of investor relations, said that, in addition to the challenging economy, Tiffany is “facing a headwind from continued heavy and unprecedented levels of discounting by many competitors, including liquidation sales by some who will likely be closing their stores.”

Tiffany said it expected full-year earnings per share from continuing operations to be between $1.50 and $1.60 a share. Analysts anticipated profit of $1.56 a share, according to Yahoo Finance.

Shares of the company Friday rose 24 cents, or 0.9 percent, to $28.37.