Foreign tourists in the U.S. and luxury shoppers globally continued to snap up jewelry seller Tiffany & Co.'s baubles in the third-quarter, sending the jewelry seller's profit up 63 percent.
The luxury retailer known for its iconic turquoise box raised its full-year forecast as a result performance. But selling more high-priced jewelry like engagement rings and high-end statement jewelry cost the company more to make, and gross margin _ the percentage of each dollar in revenue the company actually keeps _ declined slightly.
In addition, Tiffany forecast fourth-quarter earnings below expectations. The fourth quarter includes the key holiday selling season.
Its shares fell $6.40, or 8.7 percent, to close at $67.22 Tuesday.
Still, Tiffany's results to date show the luxury shopper is spending freely. That segment has rebounded more quickly from the recession than others. High-end jewelry sold better than other categories.
"Increased sales in all regions contributed to the continuation of strong worldwide sales growth in the third quarter," said CEO Michael J. Kowalski.
Tiffany has raised prices twice this year to offset higher prices for precious metal and other commodities. The company said precious metal prices have stabilized and slightly declined, but the company is unlikely to lower prices.
The New York company said that its net income rose to $89.7 million or 70 cents per share in the three months ended Oct. 31, from $55.1 million, or 43 cents per share, a year ago. Analysts expected earnings of 60 cents per share, according to FactSet.
Revenue rose 21 percent to $821.8 million from $681.7 million a year ago. Analysts expected $801.8 million.
In the Americas, sales grew 17 percent to $387.7 million. Revenue in stores open at least one year rose 16 percent. That measure is considered a key gauge of a retailer's financial health because it excludes stores that open or close during the year.
In the U.S. there was growth in all price ranges above $250, particularly higher price points. Engagement rings, high-end statement jewelry _ a category that includes expensive jewels such as an $110,000 platinum and diamond necklace _ and gold jewelry were big sellers. Less expensive silver jewelry _ a category that performed well during the recession _ had a more modest sales increase.
Foreign tourists helped push revenue up 24 percent at Tiffany's New York flagship store.
In Asia-Pacific, revenue rose 44 percent to $183.2 million, helped by strength in the greater China region. Revenue rose 12 percent in Japan and 19 percent in Europe.
But the company said that in the fourth quarter, the company expects net income of $1.48 to $1.58 per share. Analysts expect $1.63 per share.
For the year, Tiffany expects earnings of $3.70 to $3.80 per share, for prior guidance of $3.65 to $3.75 per share. Analysts expect $3.72 per share.
Tiffany, which operates 243 stores globally, expects revenue to rise in the high-teens percentage for the year.