Tiffany & Co. moved into the black in the fourth quarter even though sales declined.
For the three months ended Jan. 31, net income was $196.2 million, or $1.51 a diluted share, against a net loss of $103.6 million, or 81 cents, a year ago. The year-ago quarter included a charge of $480.2 million in connection with an arbitration award with Swatch Group that is currently under appeal. Net sales slipped 1 percent to $1.29 billion from $1.30 billion. Excluding the effect of translating foreign-currency-denominated sales into U.S. dollars, worldwide sales rose 3 percent led by growth in Europe and Asia-Pacific. The company said total and comparable-store sales on a constant-exchange-rate basis in the quarter for the Americas were flat compared with the prior year due to softness across the U.S.
For the year, net income more than doubled to $484.2 million, or $3.73 a diluted share, from $181.4 million, or $1.41, in 2013. Net sales rose 5.4 percent to $4.25 billion from $4.03 billion.
Michael J. Kowalski, chairman and chief executive officer, said that the company in 2014 expanded its store base, introduced compelling new jewelry designs and strengthened customer awareness.
For the year ending Jan. 31, 2016, the company is forecasting “minimal growth in net earnings per diluted share” from the $4.20, excluding charges, earned in 2014. The company is predicting a 30 percent decline in first quarter net earnings, a more modest decline in the second quarter, with expected double-digit percentage net earnings increases in the back half.
Frederic Cumenal, president, told Wall Street analysts during a conference call that the company’s strategic direction focuses on “continual innovation as a global luxury brand.” He noted that over the next few years, the company will strengthen its abilities when it finishes development of a global CRM system that will enable it to better analyze its customer base and shopping partners.
Cumenal also noted the introduction of the Tiffany T collection that followed its 2013 reinterpretation of its Atlas collection. Additional collections will be introduced in the coming years, with the new CT-60 watch collection coming out next month.
Shares of Tiffany closed at $82.93, down 4 percent in trading on Friday.