NEW YORK — Tiffany & Co. on Thursday posted double-digit percent increases in income and sales for the first quarter, boosted by a 30 percent gain in sales at its New York flagship.
For the three months ended April 30, the retailer said income rose 12.4 percent to $40.3 million, or 27 cents a diluted share, from $35.9 million, or 24 cents, in the same year-ago quarter. Sales advanced 15.4 percent to $457 million from $395.8 million.
U.S. retail sales climbed 23 percent to $213.7 million, while comparable-store sales rose 20 percent. A 30 percent jump at Tiffany’s New York flagship on Fifth Avenue boosted the comp gain. International retail sales grew 12 percent to $184.7 million.
Michael Kowalski, chairman and chief executive officer, said in a statement the company’s assessment of its operations “leads us to believe we can achieve full-year expectations that call for at least 11 percent growth in net sales and at least 12 percent growth in net earnings. In the U.S., we continue to expect high single-digit comparable-store sales growth in the second quarter and mid-single-digit growth in the second half due to more difficult year-over-year comparisons.”
Mark Aaron, vice president of investor relations, told Wall Street analysts during a conference call, “Sales in our New York flagship soared 30 percent in the quarter compared with a 5 percent decline in the first quarter last year. In addition to an increase in sales to New Yorkers, we saw a substantial growth in sales to domestic and foreign tourists, including an influx of European visitors and higher sales to Japanese customers.”
Aaron said comps for the branch stores in the U.S. increased 17 percent on top of a 3 percent gain a year ago. The sites showing the largest percentage increases were Orlando, Fla.; Palo Alto, Calif.; Portland, Ore.; San Diego; South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, Calif., and Tampa, Fla. In the New York region, comps rose 9 percent, while comps at the four Hawaii stores were up 15 percent.
Aaron told analysts that comparable-store sales gains were “essentially driven by an increase in the amount spent per transaction.”
From a customer perspective, Aaron said it wasn’t just the tourist dollars that made the difference. He said slightly more than half of the gains were boosted by sales to local resident customers. In addition, the comps increase was reflected across all price ranges.
“In fact, every price stratum, from $150 to products over $50,000, showed double-digit percentage growth in sales and transactions,” Aaron said.