Tiffany Sees Fourth-Quarter Shortfall, Holiday Sales Rose 2%

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Breakfast at Tiffany's has just turned cold.

This morning,

Tiffany

(TIF) - Get Report

projected that fourth-quarter earnings will come in well below analysts' expectations, citing the effect of weakened consumer confidence and unsettled financial markets.

The luxury gifts and jewelry retailer said it now expects fourth-quarter earnings of 56 cents a share, equal to the bottom line in the same period last year. According to

First Call/Thomson Financial

, 20 analysts expected Tiffany to earn 64 cents a share in the fourth quarter. Tiffany also said it plans to achieve 10% to 15% earnings growth in fiscal 2001, "assuming a moderately healthy consumer environment."

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The company, based in New York, also said worldwide same-store sales rose 2% in the holiday season, which ran from Nov. 1 to Dec. 31, a figure that was below internal expectations. Total sales rose to $482.5 million from $474.2 million in the same period last year. Same-store sales rose 27% in the holiday shopping period a year ago.

The firm of

Robertson Stephens

reacted today to the numbers, cutting its long-term investment rating on Tiffany to attractive from buy.

The company's shares lately tumbled $4.81, or 13%, to $32.31 in trading on the Big Board.