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Tiffany & Co's Christmas sales were 'somewhat lower' than expected. Image courtesy: <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook/Tiffany & Co</a>
Tiffany & Co's Christmas sales were 'somewhat lower' than expected. Image courtesy: Facebook/Tiffany & Co

Tiffany & Co CEO resigns amid disappointing sales

On the heels of reporting disappointing sales for the festive period, Tiffany & Co CEO Frederic Cumenal has resigned after less than two years in the role.

The company’s previous CEO and current board of directors chairman, Michael Kowalski, will hold Cumenal’s position until a replacement is found.

A Tiffany & Co statement provided no reason for the resignation, which was effective immediately. Cumenal was appointed CEO in April 2015 and served as Tiffany & Co president prior to that.

In the statement, Kowalski acknowledged Cumenal’s contributions to the company.

"At a time of continuing challenges in the global luxury market, Frederic has enhanced the management team and taken important steps to position Tiffany for success in the long term,” he said.

Kowalski added that the board was committed to current core business strategies, which included enhancing the customer experience and increasing the range of product releases, but was disappointed by recent financial results.

“The board believes that accelerating execution of those strategies is necessary to compete more effectively in today’s global luxury market and improve performance,” he said.

Poor Christmas sales
Frederic Cumenal, Tiffany & Co former CEO
Frederic Cumenal, Tiffany & Co former CEO

The company recorded global net sales of US$966 million (AU$1.26 billion) for the two-month period ended 31 December 2016. Net sales for the same period in 2015 totalled US$961 million (AU$1.25 billion).

Same-store sales for the two months ended 31 December 2016 decreased 2 per cent.

In announcing the figures in a statement, dated 17 January 2016, Cumenal said the results were “somewhat lower” than expected.

He added that the board did not “anticipate any significant improvement in 2017 to the macroeconomic challenges that we faced this year”.

In the Asia-Pacific region, total sales increased 7 per cent to US$200 million (AU$260 m), while same-store sales declined 4 per cent.

In the Americas, total sales and same-store sales were 4 per cent lower than the previous year. The decline in US sales was said to have been exacerbated by a 14 per cent decrease at its flagship Fifth Avenue store.

Total sales in Europe were 10 per cent below the previous year, Japan recorded an increase of 16 per cent and combined sales across all other operating markets rose 33 per cent.

Michael Kowalski, Tiffany & Co interem CEO
Michael Kowalski, Tiffany & Co interem CEO

As of 31 December 2016, there were 314 company stores – 125 in the Americas, 86 in Asia-Pacific, 55 in Japan, 43 in Europe and five in the United Arab Emirates.

Cumenal’s resignation follows news in January that Tiffany & Co design director Francesca Amfitheatrof would leave the company after three-and-a-half years. Fashion designer Reed Krakoff was appointed to newly created position chief artistic officer, effective 1 February.

The company’s 2016 fiscal year results and expectations for the 2017 fiscal year will be released on 17 March 2017.

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