May 28 - Tiffany first quarter sales rise more than expected, to $895.4 million, on strong demand in Asia. Conway G. Gittens reports.
The Daily Digit is $895.4 million, that's Tiffany's net sales for the three months that ended on April 30. With that number, the American jeweler easily topped lowered Wall Street expectations. And it's due in part to improving consumer confidence among luxury shoppers, who bought gifts at Tiffany for Valentine's Day. The other boost is coming from "The Great Gatsby' movie tie-in. The pearl headpieces, diamond brooches, and 18 karat gold cuffs -- all inspired by designs from the Tiffany archives. Strong sales in Asia also helped, with Chinese and Japanese shoppers igniting demand. In Japan, Tiffany's second biggest market, sales rose 2 percent, and would have been up 20 percent, if not for the impact of the yen's depreciation. Meantime in the Americas, sales rose 6 percent, helped in part by much brisker business at Tiffany's Fifth Avenue flagship store in Manhattan. One important takeaway: Tiffany's results confirm customers are hungry for luxury again. Still, the jeweler is sticking to its earlier conservative profit forecast, pointing to lingering softness in the Americas and the impact of yen depreciation.