FINANCE

Tiffany produces gleaming results in Q1

BY Dan Berthiaume

New York – Tiffany & Co. grew net earnings 50% in a successful first quarter of fiscal 2014. Net earnings increased 50% to $126 million, up from $84 million in the same period a year earlier, aided by the elimination of pre-tax charges relating to staff and occupancy reduction.

Worldwide net sales grew 13% to $1.01 billion, from $895.48 million. Worldwide same-store sales rose 11% due to growth in most regions.

“This is an excellent and encouraging start to the year,” said Michael J. Kowalsk, chairman and CEO. “We were pleased with the strong and broad-based sales growth across most regions and product categories and our ability to leverage those improved sales into very significant growth in operating and net earnings. Strength in fine and statement jewelry sales continued, while sales of our new or expanded jewelry collections accelerated, led by our Atlas collection.”

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FINANCE

Sears Canada net loss expands in difficult Q1

BY Dan Berthiaume

Toronto – Sears Canada more than doubled its net loss year-over-year to $75.2 million, from $31.2 million in a difficult first quarter of fiscal 2014. Expenses related to the closure of stores and severance of personnel played a major role in the growth of the retailer’s net loss.

In addition, revenues dropped 11% to $771.7 million from $867.1 million and same-store sales declined 7.6%. Sears cited poor weather as dampening sales performance, although it said it was able to clear fall and winter inventory as a result of unseasonably cold weather.

"The unseasonable weather had an adverse effect on our revenues," said Douglas C. Campbell, president and CEO, Sears Canada Inc. "Sales of spring merchandise were below last year, as winter-like weather was prevalent in most parts of the country well into the new season with cooler temperatures and significantly more snow in many areas. However, we took advantage of the extended winter and cleared a significant quantity of fall and winter carryover, virtually emptying our stockrooms and getting it in front of the customer.”

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OPERATIONS

Aaron’s names two new VPs

BY Dan Berthiaume

Atlanta – Lease-to-own retailer Aaron’s Inc. has named Sharon Lawrence VP finance and Kirby Salgado as VP merchandising. Lawrence, formerly Aaron’s director of franchise finance, joined Aaron’s in 2012 after a 25-plus year career at SunTrust Bank, while Salgado most recently served as VP/general merchandise manager for Sears Holdings.

"Sharon was instrumental in raising the financing for Aaron’s acquisition of Progressive Finance," said Steve Michaels, Aaron’s president. "In her brief two years at Aaron’s, she’s demonstrated tremendous value and has built great relationships for the company with our banking group. She will be an outstanding VP of finance while leading the Aaron’s, Inc. finance team going forward. Additionally, after a national search, we’re pleased to welcome Kirby Salgado to Aaron’s as VP of merchandising. His extensive experience in sourcing and merchandising leadership will provide immediate results in driving cost efficiencies while securing the quality, brand-name products that our customers expect and deserve from Aaron’s.”

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