The upscale jeweler's comparable sales fell for the sixth straight quarter, sending its shares sharply lower. Fred Katayama reports.
Little luster at Tiffany. The upscale jeweler posted a surprise drop in quarterly comparable store sales. Sales at existing stores fell 4 percent in the Americas. That region accounts for nearly half of the company's revenue. And worldwide, comparable sales fell for the sixth straight quarter. Net sales rose, but that too, fell shy of analysts' estimates. The culprit: lower spending by foreign tourists and local customers. The dollar has risen sharply since the beginning of the year, hurting tourists' purchasing power. Tiffany has also been struggling to lure younger shoppers who prefer cheaper chic brands. Looking ahead, the retailer expects sales to rise by a low single-digit percentage for the year ending January. Moody's chief economist John Lonski says retailers in general are in for tough times. SOUNDBITE: JOHN LONSKI, CHIEF ECONOMIST, MOODY'S (ENGLISH) SAYING: "I think the other problem retailers face today is quite frankly the shrinkage of the middle class as well as the aging of the population." Tiffany shareholders saw a lot of their 10 percent gain this year erode in early trading Wednesday.