An advertising watchdog’s report found dozens of claims that it says were false and deceptive. Wal-Mart blames suppliers.
The jeweler also now operates e-commerce sites in 13 countries. It also names Ralph Nicoletti as its new chief financial officer, starting next month.
The past year was a modest one online for jeweler Tiffany & Co., although the retailer is casting a wider net for e-commerce worldwide.
For the year ended Jan. 31, Tiffany, No. 109 in the 2013 Internet Retailer Top 500, reports:
- The web accounted for 6% of all sales in each of the past two years. Based on that metric, Internet Retailer estimates that e-commerce increased 6.2% to $241.86 million from $227.64 million in 2012.
- Total sales increased 6.2% to $4.031 from $3.794 billion in 2012.
- Comparable-store sales increased 3% both worldwide and in the United States.
- Net earnings decreased 56.4% to $181.37 million from $416.15 million in 2012.
In 2013 Tiffany worked to grow e-commerce worldwide by introducing a redesigned web site that features sharper images with a higher resolution; new and better ways to rotate and zoom in on images; and faster ways to search for products by category, designer, price, material and type of gemstone. Other enhancements include more product and jewelry buying advice videos and an updated “Engagement” section.
The new Engagement pages feature videos from certified gemologists with advice on how to choose a diamond with the best color, cut, clarity and carat weight. They also have a feature for customers to choose a ring style, specify a carat size and skin tone, and view the ring on a model’s hand. The same features also are available on Tiffany’s engagement ring finder app.
“We launched our redesigned site last October and visitors appear to be more engaged with its enhanced content, as they are spending more time on the new site,” chief operating officer Jim Fernandez told Wall Street analysts on the year-end earnings call. “Our store base is complemented by our multilingual web presence that spans across 13 countries with e-commerce sites, as well as informational sites in six additional countries.”
For the fourth quarter, Tiffany doesn’t break out web sales but reports:
- Total sales increased 5.1% to $1.298 billion from $1.235 billion in Q4 of 2012.
- Comparable-store sales worldwide increased by 2%; in the United States by 6%.
- Net earnings decreased 42.3% to $103.59 million from $179.64 million in the fourth quarter of 2012.
Tiffany also has a new money man. The jewelry retailer has named Ralph Nicoletti executive vice president and chief financial officer. He starts the job next month.
Current CFO, James N. Fernandez, is retiring after 30 years with the retailer. Fernandez also is Tiffany’s chief operating officer. That position will be eliminated when Fernandez retires. The senior vice presidents that currently report to Fernandez in the operations role will now report directly to Tiffany & Co. chairman and chief executive officer Michael J. Kowalski.
Nicoletti, who comes to Tiffany & Co. from health insurance company Cigna, will also report to Kowalksi. Nicoletti has held chief financial officer roles at Cigna and consumer packaged goods manufacturer Alberto-Culver.
“We have made key management additions to our organization in recent years,” Kowalski says. “Our first-class finance and I.T. functions and Ralph’s leadership experience and global perspective will be valuable to Tiffany’s continued worldwide expansion.”
Tiffany & Co. is No. 109 in Internet Retailer’s Top 500 Guide.