Bloomberg News

Tiffany, Coach Fall as Slower China Growth Damps Luxury View

September 29, 2011

(Updates with analyst quote in fourth paragraph.)

Sept. 29 (Bloomberg) -- Tiffany & Co. and Coach Inc. dropped, following European luxury shares downward after a Bloomberg poll showed global investors expect slowing growth in China, their fastest-growing market.

The world’s second-largest luxury jeweler fell $4.79, or 6.9 percent, to $64.70 at 4:03 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. Coach, the largest U.S. luxury-leather goods maker, retreated $3.50, or 6.1 percent, to $54. The New York- based companies were among the biggest decliners in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.

Tiffany’s fastest growth in recent quarters has been in Asia and the jeweler has been opening more stores in China. Coach added 11 stores on the mainland and in Hong Kong in its most recent quarter.

“The news flow is pointed toward China, with people pointing to increased risk for economic growth stagnating,” Matt Arnold, an analyst for St. Louis-based Edward Jones & Co., said in a telephone interview. “This is also part of high- growth retail stocks taking a step down here today. These types of sell-offs can be good buying opportunities.” He rates Tiffany a “buy.”

China’s gross domestic product will gain less than 5 percent annually by 2016, according to 59 percent of respondents in a Bloomberg poll of global investors. That economy expanded by 9.5 percent last quarter.

Burberry, LVMH

Burberry Group Plc fell 8.3 percent in London trading. LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA dropped 5.2 percent in Paris, and PPR SA, the owner of Gucci Group NV and other luxury brands, slipped 3.7 percent.

Tiffany said sales in the Asia-Pacific region jumped 45 percent in the most recent quarter with the largest increase in the China region. The retailer also has benefited from sales to Chinese tourists at its European stores.

The jeweler as of July planned to open four additional stores in China during the rest of the year. It had 52 stores in the Asia-Pacific region at that time, out of a total 236 stores.

Coach operated 66 China locations as of July, compared with 345 retail stores in North America and 176 total locations in Japan.

--With assistance from Heather Burke in London and David J. Lynch in Washington. Editors: Niamh Ring, James Callan

To contact the reporter on this story: Cotten Timberlake in Washington at ctimberlake@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Robin Ajello at rajello@bloomberg.net.


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