Tiffany's stock sinks 8% on weak tourism spending

  • Same-store sales in the Americas, which account for nearly half of Tiffany's revenue, fell 4 percent during the latest period.
  • Comparable sales fell 3 percent in both Tiffany's Europe and Asia-Pacific regions, with the luxury retailer mentioning "varying degrees of softness" in certain markets fueling these declines.
  • Tiffany's stock tumbled 8 percent Wednesday morning on this report.
A sign outside a Tiffany store in New York City.
Scott Mlyn | CNBC
A sign outside a Tiffany store in New York City.

Tiffany & Co.'s stock is in a slump Wednesday after the company revealed sales lagged in the first quarter as tourists spent less at its stores, across many regions.

Same-store sales in the Americas, which account for nearly half of Tiffany's revenue, fell 4 percent during the latest period. Management attributed the overall sales declines to lower spending by both foreign tourists and local customers.

The company posted a 1 percent comparable sales decline in the Japan region, which was driven lower by weaker spending by Chinese tourists, Tiffany said.

"We continue to see a decline in sales attributed to Chinese tourists in Japan," Tiffany's vice president of investor relations, Mark Aaron, remarked on Wednesday's earnings conference call. "However, as you may recall, we benefited in the first quarter of 2016 from higher sales attributed to Chinese tourists in Japan, which then tapered off in the second quarter."

Same-store sales fell 3 percent in both Tiffany's Europe and Asia-Pacific regions during the first quarter, with the retailer mentioning "varying degrees of softness" in certain markets fueling these declines.

Shares of Tiffany's stock tumbled more than 8 percent Wednesday, their worst day since Jan. 12, 2015, when Tiffany's stock lost nearly 14 percent after earnings.

Despite the selloff, Jefferies analyst Randal Konik reiterated his buy rating for the stock, saying data suggests U.S. tourism is "bottoming" for Tiffany. Improved U.S. tourism trends should help improve Tiffany's top-line results, he said.

"Chinese spending remains healthy ... and improving macro data in Europe should lead to better trends ahead," he said.

Tiffany also has a number of other levers that it's pulling in an attempt to improve its financial performance. These include rolling out new products and focusing on improving gross margins.

"While these results modestly exceeded our near-term expectations, we are focused on executing long-term strategies to achieve stronger and sustainable performance through product introductions," interim CEO Michael Kowalski said in a statement Wednesday.

Kowalski assumed the CEO post in February after the company struck a deal with activist shareholders Jana Partners.

In the first quarter, Tiffany said it earned $92.9 million, or 74 cents per share, up from $87.5 million or 69 cents per share, a year earlier.

Earnings in the latest period included a tax benefit valued at 2 cents per share. Excluding that item, Tiffany earned 72 cents, outpacing a Thomson Reuters estimates of 70 cents per share.

Sales inched higher, rising to $899.6 million, but that was shy of analysts' estimates, which were calling for first-quarter revenue of $913.7 million.

Tiffany expects sales to rise by a low-single digit percentage for the fiscal year 2018. Meanwhile, earnings should rise by a mid-single digit percentage rate, after charges are excluded, the company added.

As of Wednesday's close, shares of Tiffany had climbed nearly 33 percent over the past 12 months are are up a little more than 9 percent for the year-to-date period.

TIF 12-month performance

Source: FactSet

—CNBC's Gina Francolla contributed to this reporting.