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Tiffany Gets Whacked

Tiffany Gift Box
Photo By: minxlj
Tiffany Gift Box

Shares of Tiffany & Co. have been clobbered this week. As of this morning, they’re off by more than 9 percent over the past 5 days on considerable volume.

Tiffany is a popular bet for the luxury consumer sector because it is one of the few pure play luxury brands that trades publicly.

Many of the other household name luxury retailers are owned by much larger conglomerates or entirely private.

Even when things look bleak for retail, Tiffany is thought of as having an immunity to pressures that hit lower-end retailers. As my colleague Jim Cramer put it before this week's sell off, the rich are getting richer, so luxury brands are working.

I’m a lot less bullish on Tiffany—even after the decline of the last few days.

As I’ve written before

, Tiffany got more or less ambushed in 2008 by a downturn that it absolutely should have been able to anticipate. And, in many ways, a 2011 recession could be even worse for Tiffany because it won’t be able to fall back on European and Asian buyers if the high-end US consumer pares back.

Tiffany’s earnings are due out at the end of the month. I wouldn’t be too surprised if sales held up during the summer. But Tiffany does a huge part of its business around the holiday season.

If you are worried about the economy weakening in the next few months, it might be wise to worry about whether Tiffany can meet the earnings expectations that have sent its price soaring for so much of this year.

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