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Tiffany & Co. (NYSE: TIF) today reported double-digit sales and earnings growth for the year ended January 31, 2012 (“fiscal 2011”). Net sales rose 18% to $3.6 billion and net earnings rose 19% to $439 million, or $3.40 per diluted share. Net earnings increased 24% excluding nonrecurring items and earnings per diluted share rose 23% to $3.60 (see “Non-GAAP Measures” schedule). Management also provided its financial forecast for fiscal 2012.
Michael J. Kowalski, chairman and chief executive officer, said, “Tiffany exceeded the goals that we had set at the start of 2011 for both sales and earnings growth, although we concluded the year with softer-than-expected results. Nonetheless, we remain focused on successfully executing our long-term strategies and pursuing Tiffany’s substantial global growth potential in 2012 and beyond.”
Summary of results for the year ended January 31, 2012:
Worldwide net sales rose 18% to $3.6 billion. On a constant-exchange-rate basis that excludes the effect of translating foreign-currency-denominated sales into U.S. dollars, worldwide net sales and comparable store sales rose 15% and 13%.
Net earnings rose 19% to $439 million, or $3.40 per diluted share, compared with $368 million, or $2.87 per diluted share, in the prior year. Net earnings as a percentage of net sales rose to 12.1%, from 11.9% in the prior year.
Net earnings in fiscal 2011 were reduced by $0.20 per diluted share for nonrecurring items related to the relocation of Tiffany’s headquarters staff. Net earnings in fiscal 2010 had been reduced by $0.06 per diluted share for various non-recurring items (see “Non-GAAP Measures” schedule). Excluding those items, net earnings and net earnings per diluted share rose 24% and 23%.
Summary of results for the three months (fourth quarter) ended January 31, 2012:
Worldwide net sales increased 8% to $1.2 billion. On a constant-exchange-rate basis, worldwide net sales rose 7% and comparable store sales rose 5% (see “Non-GAAP Measures” schedule).
Net earnings declined 2% to $178 million, or $1.39 per diluted share, from the prior year’s $181 million, or $1.41 per diluted share.
Net earnings in the fourth quarter of 2010 had been reduced by $0.03 per diluted share for nonrecurring expenses (see SG&A expenses below). Excluding that nonrecurring item, net earnings in this fourth quarter were 4% below the prior year (see “Non-GAAP Measures” schedule).
Net sales highlights were as follows:
In the Americas region, sales increased 15% to $1.8 billion in fiscal 2011 and rose 5% to $605 million in the fourth quarter. On a constant-exchange-rate basis, total Americas sales rose 14% in fiscal 2011 and 5% in the fourth quarter, largely due to comparable store sales increasing 13% in the year and 3% in the fourth quarter; on that basis, comparable branch store sales in the Americas increased 11% in the year and 3% in the fourth quarter, while sales in the New York flagship store increased 20% in the year and 2% in the fourth quarter. Combined Internet and catalog sales in the Americas rose 6% in fiscal 2011 and declined 4% in the fourth quarter.
In the Asia-Pacific region, sales rose 36% to $748 million in the full year and increased 19% to $225 million in the fourth quarter. On a constant-exchange-rate basis, total sales and comparable store sales rose 31% and 27% in the year, and rose 18% and 13% in the fourth quarter, due to increased sales in most countries.
In Japan, sales increased 13% to $617 million in fiscal 2011 and rose 12% to $204 million in the fourth quarter. On a constant-exchange-rate basis, total sales in Japan rose 3% in the year and 5% in the fourth quarter and comparable store sales increased 4% in both periods.
In Europe, sales increased 17% to $421 million in the fiscal year and 3% to $142 million in the fourth quarter. On a constant-exchange-rate basis, total sales in Europe rose 12% in the year and 3% in the fourth quarter while comparable store sales increased 6% in the year and declined 2% in the fourth quarter. Throughout the fourth quarter and year, sales growth in Continental Europe was relatively stronger than results in the U.K.
At January 31, 2012, the Company operated 247 stores (102 in the Americas, 58 in Asia-Pacific, 55 in Japan and 32 in Europe), versus 233 (96 in the Americas, 52 in Asia-Pacific, 56 in Japan and 29 in Europe) a year ago.
Other sales declined 5% to $51 million in the fiscal year and 22% to $12 million in the fourth quarter due to declines in wholesale sales of rough diamonds in both periods as well as lower wholesale sales of finished products to independent distributors in the fourth quarter.
Other financial highlights:
Gross margin (gross profit as a percentage of net sales) of 59.0% in the fiscal year compared with 59.1% a year ago, reflecting both higher product costs and shifts in product sales mix toward higher-priced jewelry that achieves a lower gross margin being largely offset by sales leverage on fixed costs. Gross margin in the fourth quarter was 60.4%, versus 60.9% in the prior year for generally similar reasons as noted above except for a lack of sales leverage on fixed costs.
SG&A (selling, general and administrative) expenses increased 18% in the fiscal year and 10% in the fourth quarter, with both increases affected by nonrecurring costs related to the relocation of Tiffany’s New York headquarters staff (see “Non-GAAP Measures” schedule). Excluding the nonrecurring costs in all periods, SG&A expenses rose 16% in the fiscal year and 11% in the fourth quarter primarily due to increased store occupancy, labor and marketing costs.
The Company’s effective income tax rate was 34.0% in the fiscal year versus last year’s 32.7% rate. In the fourth quarter, the effective income tax rate of 34.5% in 2011 was above last year’s 32.1%.
At January 31, 2012, cash and cash equivalents and short-term investments totaled $442 million, compared with $741 million at the prior year-end. Total short-term and long-term debt equaled $712 million at January 31, 2012 and represented 30% of stockholders’ equity, compared with $688 million, and 32% a year ago.
Net inventories of $2.1 billion at January 31, 2012 were 28% above the prior year-end. Finished goods inventories rose 16% in fiscal 2011 due to higher product acquisition costs, store openings, product introductions and expanded assortments, as well as the lower-than-expected sales growth in the fourth quarter. Combined raw material and work-in-process inventories increased 46%, reflecting higher product acquisition costs, expanded rough diamond sourcing and increased internal production.
Capital expenditures were $239 million in 2011, compared with $127 million in 2010. A portion of the increase was due to the relocation of Tiffany’s New York headquarters staff, as well as increased store renovations and other factors.
The Company repurchased approximately 2.6 million shares of its Common Stock in the fiscal year at a total cost of $174 million, or an average cost of $66.23 per share. In the fourth quarter, the Company spent $35 million to repurchase approximately 525,000 shares at an average cost of $67.26 per share. At January 31, 2012 approximately $218 million was available for future repurchases under the currently authorized plan which expires in January 2013.
Mr. Kowalski added, “Over the coming year as we commemorate the 175
th anniversary of Tiffany’s founding in 1837, we are confident that Tiffany & Co. is better positioned than ever in terms of its increased physical presence and brand awareness around the world, and we are confident in Tiffany’s long-term, substantial growth potential. Our expansion plans for 2012 include opening a net of 24 stores in important markets, delivering extraordinary product offerings with several new jewelry collections, increasing our marketing spending and providing superior shopping experiences.
While it is obviously still quite early in this new fiscal year, we are pleased that worldwide sales growth is tracking in line with our internal expectations. We are now introducing our financial guidance for 2012 which calls for sales growth of approximately 10% and net earnings per share in a range of $3.95 - $4.05. We believe our expansion strategies and spending plans are appropriately prudent and will ultimately contribute to strong relative performance within the luxury jewelry industry.”