4 IN. DI LETTURA
NEW YORK, 23 marzo (Reuters) - Tiffany & Co (TIF.N) balza a due cifre dopo aver annunciato utili del quarto trimestre superiori alle attese benchè in discesa.
Il gioielliere delle "scatole blu" ha mostrato di saper contrastare la discesa del fatturato con un taglio dei costi, ma non ha dato un quadro in rosa del 2009, avvertendo che mancano i segni di una ripresa imminente e che nelle sue previsioni 2009 ci sono ancora vendite in calo e utili deludenti.
Nell'anno chiuso a gennaio 2009 l'utile netto Tiffany è stato 31,1 milioni di dollari, o 25 cent/azione contro 127,4 milioni o 96 cent. Escluse poste non ricorrenti l'utile/azione è 85 cent, sopra i 78 cent attesi da Reuters Estimates. Meno 20% le vendite, a 841,2 milioni penalizzati soprattutto dalle Americhe e dai pezzi con cartellino sopra 50.000 dollari.
La "I think people expected even worse guidance," she said.
For the current fiscal year, which ends in January 2010, Tiffany said it is assuming that sales will fall about 11 percent. It expects full-year earnings of between $1.50 and $1.60 per share from continuing operations.
Analysts expect it to earn $1.73 a share on that basis. "We have an unwavering commitment to the integrity of the Tiffany & Co brand and will not seek short-term compromises," CEO Michael Kowalski said during a call with analysts. Despite facing a rough time, the retailer said it would not bow to economic pressure and cut prices -- a possibility that is widely considered detrimental to the jewelry brand in the long term.
Its shares got a boost from the better-than-expected profit, said Edward Jones analyst Matt Arnold.
"More than anything else, (it was) the upside surprise in the current quarter," Arnold said, also pointing to the uptick in the overall market. [nN23263654]
Investors could also be rewarding the stock after Tiffany allayed their fears of a darker outlook, said Cowen & Co analyst Laura Champine.
Stores that sell high-end merchandise were among the last to face the repercussions of the recession, but have also fallen prey to consumer cutbacks in recent months.
Tiffany said its sales sank more than 20 percent so far in the current quarter, the latest sign that consumers around the world -- even affluent ones -- are still holding back on discretionary purchases as the economic downturn shows no signs of abating.
Sales fell 3 percent in the Asia-Pacific region and 2 percent in Europe. Even its flagship store in Manhattan, which is usually inundated with tourists, faced a 34 percent sales decline in the fourth quarter.
For the current year, Tiffany expects sales declines in the mid-teens percentage in the Americas region and high-single-digit percentage in Europe. It also forecast a 33 percent drop in capital expenditures to $100 million.
The New York-based retailer offered early retirement packages to about 800 employees late last year, of which 600 took the offer, Tiffany said.
Combined with more job cuts, and closing its Iridesse pearl jewelry stores, Tiffany expects a 10 percent cut in its total worldwide staff, and about $60 million in pre-tax savings in 2009, the company said.
Tiffany shares were up $2.64 at $22.87 on the New York Stock Exchange.