USA -- Tiffany & Co reported financial results for its second quarter ended July 31, 2009. Sales and net earnings were below last year but exceeded expectations, and management increased its outlook for the full year accordingly.
Michael J. Kowalski, chairman and chief executive officer, said, "While economic and retail conditions remain challenging, we were encouraged to see many stores achieving either smaller year-over-year rates of sales declines or modest sales growth compared with the past two quarters. More importantly, Tiffany's strong financial and operating position allows us to continue to expand our global presence in pursuit of robust, long-term growth."
Net sales in the second quarter declined 16% to $612.5 million. On a constant-exchange-rate basis, which excludes the effect of translating foreign-currency-denominated sales into U.S. dollars, worldwide net sales declined 14% and comparable store sales declined 16% (see attached "Non-GAAP Measures" schedule).
Net sales in the six-month (first half) period ended July 31, 2009 declined 19% to $1,130.1 million. On a constant-exchange-rate basis, net sales and comparable store sales declined 16% and 18%.
In the second quarter, net earnings from continuing operations were $56.7 million, or $0.46 per diluted share, compared with $82.6 million, or $0.64 per diluted share, in the prior year. Net earnings and net earnings per diluted share were $56.8 million and $0.46, versus $80.8 million and $0.63 in the prior year. Net earnings in 2009 include $0.07 per diluted share of non-recurring income related to a loan recovery and tax reserve adjustments (see below).
In the first half, net earnings from continuing operations were $84.2 million, or $0.68 per diluted share, compared with last year's $149.2 million, or $1.16 per diluted share. Net earnings and net earnings per diluted share were $81.1 million and $0.65, versus $145.2 million and $1.13 in the prior year.
Beginning in the second quarter of 2009, financial results for the Iridesse subsidiary are classified as discontinued operations in the statement of earnings for the current and prior year periods.
In the Americas, sales declined 23% to $324.9 million in the second quarter and 27% to $583.9 million in the first half. Comparable U.S. store sales declined 27% in the second quarter and 30% in the first half; comparable branch store sales declined 26% and 29%, while sales in the New York flagship store declined 30% and 36%. Combined Internet and catalog sales in the U.S. declined 8% in the second quarter and 12% in the first half.
In the Asia-Pacific region, sales in the second quarter declined 1% to $211.9 million as sales growth in most countries was offset by a decline in Japan. Sales in the first half declined 5% to $413.4 million. On a constant-exchange-rate basis, sales declined 3% in the second quarter and 5% in the first half, with comparable store sales declining 4% and 7%. During the quarter, the Company opened stores in Hong Kong (Canton Road) and Ikebukuro, Japan, and relocated a store in Kagoshima, Japan.
In Europe, sales decreased 4% to $68.3 million in the second quarter and 6% to $123.9 million in the first half. On a constant-exchange-rate basis, sales rose 13% and 15% in the quarter and half, due to incremental sales from new stores and broad-based comparable store sales growth of 5% and 4%.
The Company operated 211 TIFFANY & CO. stores and boutiques at July 31, 2009 (88 in the Americas, 99 in Asia-Pacific and 24 in Europe), versus 196 locations a year ago (82 in the Americas, 95 in Asia-Pacific and 19 in Europe).
Other sales declined 66% to $7.4 million in the second quarter and 72% to $9.0 million in the first half due to reduced demand for diamonds in the wholesale market.
Gross profit as a percentage of net sales (gross margin) was 55.1% in the second quarter and 55.5% in the first half, compared with 57.8% and 57.5% in the prior year. The declines were due to higher product costs.
Selling, general and administrative (SG&A) expenses in the second quarter and first half were 14% and 15% below the prior year. These savings were due to reduced staffing and marketing costs, as well as lower variable costs tied to the sales declines. In the quarter, the Company recovered and recorded a $4.4 million gain ($0.02 per diluted share after tax) related to a loan made to Tahera Diamond Corp. for which an impairment charge had been recorded in fiscal 2007.
Interest and other expenses, net were higher in the second quarter and first half primarily due to increased interest expense related to issuances of long-term debt.
The effective income tax rate was 26.7% in the second quarter and 32.4% in the first half, compared with 36.9% and 36.8% in the prior year. Effective income tax rates in 2009 were affected by the recording of favorable reserve adjustments at the conclusion of certain tax audits; these adjustments benefited net earnings by $0.05 per diluted share in the quarter. The Company now expects an effective income tax rate of approximately 34% for the full year.
Accounts receivable at July 31, 2009 were 23% below the prior year as a result of lower sales.
Net inventories at July 31, 2009 were 2% above the prior year. However, consistent with management's objective, net inventories have declined 4% since the beginning of the fiscal year. Management continues to project a single-digit percentage decline for the full year.
The Company's balance sheet liquidity at July 31, 2009 included: cash and cash equivalents of $333.6 million (versus $152.2 million a year ago) and total short-term borrowings and long-term debt of $751.7 million (versus $639.2 million a year ago). The increase in debt included $400 million of new long-term debt issued in the past year, a portion of which has been used to retire maturing debt.
Mr. Kowalski added, "We are pursuing a more modest pace of store expansion this year, in light of economic conditions, but will nevertheless increase the number of Company-operated stores by about 6%. We're enjoying successful launches of new products, highlighted by our KEYS jewelry collection. And we've improved our cost structure to maintain a healthy level of profitability and strong liquidity. Most important, we believe the current environment provides opportunity for significant gains in market share and we remain excited about Tiffany's long-term prospects."
Tiffany & Co