Tiffany Shares Slide After Biggest Sales Drop In 6 Quarters, EPS Miss, Guidance Cut

Iconic jeweler Tiffany reported Q1 earnings which continued the recent slide in top and bottom line on the back of a clearly weaker domestic and global consumer, and which not only missed the top and bottom line, printing at $891.3MM (exp. 914.9MM) and $0.64 (exp. $0.68), respectively, but also reported a steep drop in same store sales which tumbled 9% in Q1, double the 4.6% expected drop, and also slashed guidance, expecting full year 2017 EPS to be down in the mid-single digits, compared to its previous guidance which expected earnings to stay flat or fall by up to mid-single digit in percentage terms.

Sales at the jeweler's stores open for more than a year fell 10 percent in the Americas region in the first quarter ended April 30. Analysts on average had expected a 9.1 percent decline, according to research firm Consensus Metrix. Tiffany's net income fell 16.6 percent to $87.5 million, or 69 cents per share.

The 7.4% drop in total revenue was the steepest sales drop in six quarters. Once again the company blamed a stronger dollar for discouraging tourists from buying its high-end jewelry, even though the dollar was notably weaker Y/Y in the first quarter, as the company does not even bother to pull up a stock chart.

The Company's reported net sales reflect either a translation-related benefit from strengthening foreign currencies or a detriment from a strengthening U.S. dollar. Internally, management monitors and measures its sales performance on a non-GAAP basis that eliminates the positive or negative effects that result from translating sales made outside the U.S. into U.S. dollars

GAAP Sales decline in the upper single digits in every single market except Japan, where Tiffany saw a 8% boost.

While many, especially the Fed which is said to hike as soon as next month, tout an imminent consumer recovery, Tiffany did not see it. Here is its full outlook:

Management is now forecasting full year earnings per diluted share in 2016 to decline by a mid-single-digit percentage from 2015’s adjusted earnings per diluted share (which excluded loan impairment and certain staffing and occupancy charges - see “Non-GAAP Measures”). Management also expects diluted EPS in the second quarter to decline by a similar rate as occurred in the first quarter. The forecast is based on the following full year assumptions, which are approximate and may or may not prove valid: (i) worldwide net sales declining by a low-single-digit percentage from the prior year; (ii) worldwide gross retail square footage increasing 2%, net through 11 openings, 6 relocations and 10 closings; (iii) operating margin below the prior year’s 19.7% (excluding the prior year’s charges – see “Non-GAAP Measures”) due to an expected increase in gross margin more than offset by SG&A expense growth; (iv) interest and other expenses, net unchanged from 2015; (v) an effective income tax rate slightly lower than the prior year; (vi) a modest year-over-year strengthening of the U.S. dollar; (vii) net inventories unchanged from the prior year; (viii) capital expenditures of $260 million; and (ix) free cash flow (net cash provided by operating activities less capital expenditures) of at least $400 million.

According to Reuters, Tiffany's reluctance to offer promotions has been turning away thrifty shoppers, while a stronger dollar has made purchases more expensive for tourists.

"We faced numerous challenges, including continued pressure from foreign tourist spending in Europe, the U.S. and Asia, particularly in Hong Kong," Chief Executive Frederic Cumenal said.

Shares of the company, whose "Blue Book" collection was flaunted by actress Cate Blanchett on the Oscar red carpet this year, fell 4.5% to $61 in premarket trading on Wednesday.