Tiffany Still Doing Quite Badly in the Downturn

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Tiffany's first-quarter earning were down a dismal 64 percent. Sales in the New York flagship alone fell 42 percent. Sales in the Americas dropped 34 percent. The brand refuses to cope with the downturn by adding lower-priced items people might actually buy these days, because they don't want to look cheap. Instead, they bought handbag brand Lambertson Truex earlier this month. Apparently LVMH and Hermès International have escaped embarrassing economic ruin thanks to the sales of branded handbags. This seem counterintuitive, since bags go out of style but diamonds are forever. But perhaps Tiffany can cash in on bag ladies, too.

The good news is sale declines seem to be leveling off, kind of like dwindling sales of men's underpants. So maybe Alan Greenspan's manty theory — that sales of men's underwear dip in downturns and increase in boom times — is holding water! Or maybe a Tiffany Index would have been just as accurate as a manty index, but Greenspan just chose men's underwear because it's more fun to talk about.

Tiffany Earnings Sink, With Flagship Faring Poorly [WSJ]