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Tiffany Q4 beats Street

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Tiffany & Co.’s fourth-quarter net income inched up 0.7%, but its results still topped analysts’ predictions as strong demand in Asia helped to offset domestic weakness. The company also offered an annual sales outlook that topped analysts’ estimates, citing its strong prospects in most Asian markets.

For the quarter ended Jan. 31, Tiffany earned $179.6 million, compared with $178.4 million in the year-ago period. Revenue increased 4% to $1.24 billion.

"While financial results in fiscal 2012 were disappointing due to lower-than expected sales growth and pressures on gross margin, we continued to maintain a longer term focus on strengthening global awareness of the Tiffany & Co. brand," said Michael J. Kowalski, Tiffany’s chairman and CEO.

Total sales in the Americas region, which represented 48% of the company’s total revenue last year, rose 2% to $620 million in the fourth quarter and 2% to $1.8 billion in the full year. Same-store sales were down 2% in the fourth quarter and the full year.

Sales in Tiffany’s New York flagship fell 3% in both the quarter and full year, and were down 2% at its branch locations for both periods.

In the Asia-Pacific region, total sales increased 13% to $254 million in the fourth quarter and 8% to $810 million in the full year.

In Europe, total sales rose 3% to $146 million in the fourth quarter due to mixed performance by country and also rose 3% to $432 million or 11% of worldwide sales in the full year.

The New York-based jewelry company also says it expects its first-quarter earnings from operations will fall about 15% to 20% as a result of profitability pressures and higher marketing costs, but pick up later in the year.

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Whirlpool Dishwashers earn Good Housekeeping Seal

BY CSA STAFF

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. — Whirlpool announced that its Gold Series Dishwasher with PowerScour, as well as four other Whirlpool Gold Series Dishwashers, earning the Good Housekeeping Seal by the Good Housekeeping Research Institute (GHRI).

This announcement comes on the heels of the GHRI awarding Whirlpool Gold® gas and electric ranges with TimeSavor Convection cooking with the Good Housekeeping Seal.

"Whirlpool brand is honored to receive the Good Housekeeping Research Institute Seal on our line of Whirlpool Gold dishwashers," said Tanu Grewal, senior brand manager, Whirlpool. "The intuitive technology in our dishwashers will not only ensure your dishes come out spotless, but also make sure no water is wasted in the process."

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Rue21 opens 900th store

BY CSA STAFF

WARRENDALE, Pa. — Teen apparel retailer Rue21, opened its 900th store on March 21in theSouthern Hills Shopping Center of West Plains, Mo. The 5,000sq. ft. store is the company’s 21st location in that state.

Rue21 has successfully opened over 500 stores in the last five years.The company expects to open another 125 stores in 2013 and has opened23 stores so far this year. The company intends to open its 1000thstore in the fourth quarter of 2013, and the company’s long term planis to grow the chain to over 1700 stores in the United States.

Commenting on the store opening, Bob Fisch, Rue21’s CEO and president,stated: "Not many companies are able to open their 900th store andtheir 1000th store in the same year, but we are on target to accomplishthat goal. I am extremely proud of our associates who make thistremendous store growth initiative possible, especially our realestate, construction and operations teams. Beyond new store openings,we have many strategic initiatives for 2013 and beyond to take this company to the next level of its growth, including e-commerce, and weare looking forward to the possibilities ahead of us."

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