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Tiffany beats Street with Q1 profit, revenue

BY Dan Berthiaume

New York – Tiffany & Co. overcame the negative impact of a strong dollar on global performance to beat Wall Street with smaller-than-expected declines in net earnings and sales during the first quarter of fiscal 2015. Net earnings declined 17% to $105 million from $126 million a year earlier, with increased marketing spending contributing to the decrease.

Worldwide net sales dropped 5% to $962 million, from $1.01 billion. Worldwide same-store sales dropped 1%. Tiffany plans to open an unspecified number of new stores in key markets during fiscal 2015.

In the Americas, total sales rose 1% to $444 million and same-store sales climbed 1%. This reflected higher sales to U.S. customers offset by lower foreign tourist spending in the U.S., as well as healthy sales growth in Canada and Latin America.

“We started the year facing well-known challenges from both global economic uncertainties and the effect of a strong U.S. dollar on the translation of foreign-denominated sales into dollars and on foreign tourist spending in the U.S., as well as a difficult sales comparison in Japan,” said Frederic Cumenal, CEO. “Despite those factors, our first quarter results for net sales, as well as for gross margin and net earnings, were somewhat better than we anticipated.”

Looking ahead to fiscal 2015, Tiffany is maintaining guidance of net earnings in the second quarter declining at a more moderate rate than in the first quarter, followed by expected double-digit percentage net earnings growth in the second half of the year.

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Clearance helps DSW beat Street with profits; 35-40 new stores planned

BY Dan Berthiaume

Columbus, Ohio – DSW Inc. beat Wall Street expectations with first quarter profits that were aided by a reduction in clearance-priced merchandise. Net income in the first quarter of fiscal 2015 rose 22% to $47.37 million, from $38.64 million a year earlier.

Net sales grew 9% to $655.49 from $598.95 million. Same-store sales improved 5.1%.

DSW plans to open 35-40 new stores in fiscal 2015. Other plans for the year include piloting new technology to provide in-store customers access to additional styles, colors and sizes. These tools, coupled with enhanced customer engagement, will deliver an endless aisle experience.

''Our first quarter performance was a solid start to the spring season,” said Mike MacDonald, president and CEO. “Athletic footwear provided the strongest sales increase, but all major categories posted solid growth. Healthy regular priced sales and lower clearance inventory than last year drove a significant improvement in our gross profit rate. The West Coast port congestion delayed some receipts, but we released pre-buy merchandise to mitigate the impact on sales."

During fiscal 2015, total revenues are expected to increase in the 7%-8% range, driven by low-to-mid-single digit same-store sales growth.

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Ahold grows net income, U.S. market share in Q1

BY Dan Berthiaume

Zaandam, Netherlands – Global grocery conglomerate Ahold N.V. had a successful first quarter of fiscal 2015, reporting growth in overall net income and in U.S. market share. Net income more than quadrupled to $230.74 million from $54.16 million, aided by the elimination of discontinued operations from the same period a year earlier.

Net sales rose 15% to $12.23 billion from $10.64 billion. In the U.S., net sales rose 20% to $7.61 billion from $6.34 billion, aided by Ahold’s third straight quarter of increased market share in the U.S. market. Excluding gasoline, same-store sales rose 0.1%.

Underlying U.S. sales trends were positive. The adverse impact of the timing of Easter was partly offset by additional sales as a consequence of high snowfall levels during the quarter in the Stop & Shop and Giant Carlisle markets. In New England, the trend in market share development improved.

Ahold rolled out its U.S. program to improve its customer proposition to another 183 stores, bringing the total to 704 stores, and the next waves are being deployed in all divisions. During the quarter, Ahold USA announced a restructuring of its support offices, which is to be completed by early summer.

“We are encouraged by the positive momentum in our sales trend, with sales growth of 3.1% excluding gas and at constant exchange rates, despite the adverse timing of Easter,” said Dick Boer, CEO. “We have continued to respond to the changing needs of our customers, by making further price investments, increasing and improving our assortments, expanding our store network, introducing new formats and continuing to strengthen our leading online proposition.”

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