Jewelry maker Tiffany & Co. (TIF) reported a 53% jump in earnings in the first quarter, riding on a 15% rise in worldwide net sales, higher operating margin and lower effective tax rate. The company has also raised its sales and earnings guidance for the full year, sending shares surging 12.4% before the opening bell.
With sales increasing 15% to $1 billion, net earnings climbed 53% year-over-year to $142 million or $1.14 per share. Broad-based sales growth and comparable sales growth of 10% drove worldwide net sales higher. All jewelry categories including Jewelry Collections, Engagement Jewelry, and Designer Jewelry showed strong sales growth in the quarter.
The strongest growth was seen in Asia-Pacific, where sales improved 28% helped by increased retail sales in China and Korea. In Americas, sales rose 9% on the higher spending by local customers and foreign tourists.
In the first quarter, Tiffany opened one company-operated store and closed two. As on April 30, 2018, the company operates 314 stores, with 123 in the Americas, 87 in Asia-Pacific, 54 in Japan, 46 in Europe, and four in the UAE.
Looking ahead into fiscal 2018, the company raised its guidance for net sales and net earnings. Worldwide net sales are now expected to increase by a high-single-digit percentage over last year, compared to the previous estimate of mid-single-digit percentage. Tiffany lifted EPS outlook to $4.50 – $4.70 from the prior forecast of $4.25 – $4.45.
Additionally, Tiffany’s board of directors has approved a new share repurchase program that authorizes the buyback of up to $1 billion of its common stock. This new program, which expires on January 31, 2022, will replace its existing share repurchase program announced in January 2016.
Shares of Tiffany ended Tuesday’s regular trading session down 0.97% at $102.24 on the NYSE. The stock had been trading between $84.15 and $111.44 for the past 52 weeks.
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