FINANCE

Tiffany shines as Q1 results beat Street

BY Staff Writer

New York — Tiffany & Co.’s net income rose a better-than-expected 3% to $83.6 million in its first quarter, up from the prior year’s $81.5 million, boosted by sales improvement across all its regions, particularly Asia. Global same-store sales rose 8% during the quarter.

The earnings bump came on a 9% worldwide net sales increase to $895 million. In the Americas region, total sales rose 6% to $408 million. Same-store sales rose 3% with relatively stronger growth in the New York flagship store.

In the Asia-Pacific region, total sales of $223 million were 15% higher than a year ago.

During the current fiscal year, Tiffany expects open six new stores in the Americas, seven in Asia-Pacific and three in Europe, while closing one each in Japan and Taiwan), as well as refurbishing a number of existing locations around the world.

"While first quarter sales and earnings exceeded our expectations, we are maintaining our earnings forecast for the full year, mindful of continuing soft sales results in the Americas and the negative translation effect of a weaker yen,” said Michael J. Kowalski, chairman and CEO of Tiffany & Co.

Kowalski said that the retailer will launch a redesigned website later this year and also introduce a jewelry collection based on The Great Gatsby, among planned new products.

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OPERATIONS

Survey: Women seek value, connection

BY Dan Berthiaume

Minneapolis — Female consumers are looking for value and deeper connections, according to results of the fifth annual “What Women Want” survey. The study, conducted by Ginger Consulting, indicates that women are responsible for or influence $7 trillion of annual purchases in the U.S., including 85% of all consumer and business purchases and 60% of automobile purchases,

Specifically, the survey shows that 36% of women hunt for value in every purchase they make and use social media for personal reasons, but not for checking in at stores or restaurants (71% do not like to use social media this way). Forty-six percent of women want to take frequent vacations.

"It’s less about experiencing the thrill that comes from extreme couponing," said Beth Perro-Jarvis, principal, Ginger Consulting. "Instead women have been trained by retailers never to buy at full price. Retailers need to learn from J.C. Penney’s mistake and give her a discount, a coupon, a value."

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OPERATIONS

Penney’s ‘Hitler’ tea kettle billboard causes social media uproar

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — J.C. Penney on Tuesday turned to social media to deny that a tea kettle being advertised on a billboard on the 405 Interstate near Culver City, Calif., is intended to represent Adolf Hitler.

The buzz started when some motorists took pictures of the huge billboard advertising the tea kettle, part of the retailer’s new Michael Graves Design collection. They posted the photos, claiming that the kettle’s lid, asymmetrical handle, and saluting spout made it look like Adolf Hitler. The photos quickly went viral, ending up on several web sites, including the popular Reddit forum.

Penney responded to the uproar with good humor, using Twitter to proclaim:

“Certainly unintended. If we designed the kettle to look like something, we would’ve gone with a snowman.”

To see the billboard, click here.

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