Elsa Peretti considers retirement from Tiffany

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Legendary designer may bow out after 38 year association.

Tiffany has announced an increase in first quarter sales of 8% to $819 million, with net earnings increasing 1% to $82 million.

American and European sales were up just 3%, while Asia Pacific rose 17% and Japan was up 15%.

Mark Aaron, vice-president of investor relations for Tiffany, described the financial results as “mixed”, and suggested that challenges in the Americas were mainly responsible.

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“The shortfall to our expectation was entirely in the Americas while quarterly sales in Asia Pacific, Japan, and Europe came in pretty much where we expected,” he said in a conference call, while singling out softening sales to customers in the financial sector, competitive discounting and margin pressures in low end silver due to price increases.

Tiffany also informed the market that Elsa Peretti, the Italian designer who has been working with the company for 38 years, may walk away.

The 72 year old, whose designs account for 10% of Tiffany’s net sales, has suggested she may retire, and has instructed advisers to look into selling her intellectual property to the jeweller.

Tiffany has made an offer to secure those rights, but no agreement has been reached yet, the company said. Tiffany said that an agreement would likely improve the company’s cash flows and operating results, but if negotiations fail, it could lose the right to sell Peretti’s products, and its operating results would be adversely affected.

 

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