Business

Foreign tourist boom fuels 5% surge in Tiffany's Japan sales

Kyodo

American luxury jewelry retailer Tiffany & Co. said Thursday that total sales in Japan rose 5 percent to $125 million in the May-to-July quarter, driven by a boost in foreign tourist spending in the country.

“While our sales in Japan are largely made to Japanese customers, the year-over-year sales growth has been due to increased sales to foreign tourists, particularly Chinese visitors, which are perhaps tied to some degree by the attractiveness arising from the weaker yen,” Mark Aaron, Tiffany’s vice president of investor relations, said on an investor conference call.

Tiffany said that if the results were measured in yen, total sales and comparable store sales would have increased 27 percent and 21 percent, respectively.

The positive results came after a rough February-to-April quarter that saw sales plummet 30 percent compared to the year before when customers rushed to stores ahead of a consumption tax hike in April 2014.

Tiffany said sales in Japan, which surpass those of Europe, declined 16 percent in the first half of the year to $247 million.

Worldwide, Tiffany’s net sales were roughly flat in the quarter at $991 million, with the strong dollar offsetting any sales growth. Net sales in the first half of the year were down 3 percent to $2 billion.

“We entered this year expecting translation and tourism-related pressures on sales and earnings from the exceptionally strong U.S. dollar, as well as challenging economic conditions in certain markets,” Tiffany CEO Frederic Cumenal said in a press release.

“While the adverse effects from the strong dollar have been even more significant than initially expected, we met our overall expectations in the first half of the year.”

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