Tiffany’s could get hurt by being next door to Trump, analysts warn

Breakfast at Tiffany’s? Shoppers can’t even get into the store.While Tiffany Trump’s stock may be rising in light of her father’s victory in the president election, her namesake might suffer from its close association with the real estate mogul and his home.
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Cowen & Co. Analyst Oliver Chen warned that the proximity of Tiffany & Co.’s flagship store on Fifth Avenue in New York to Trump Tower – their main entrances are next door to each other – could adversely affect the jeweller’s sales in the short term due to protests being held in the surrounding area, in addition to the street closures and enhanced security measures that would accompany any presidential visit.

The analyst estimated that traffic at this location, the company’s biggest in the world, could be cut in half, and consequently trimmed his fourth-quarter earnings per share forecast by three cents.

“There’s no way to sugarcoat this, the big worry is what will happen over the next few months,” Chen said. “They are very important weeks before Christmas.”

Nonetheless, the analyst has a “outperform” rating and $US90 price target on the stock.

“The entrance to the Tiffany’s flagship store on Fifth Avenue was not open when we checked,” added Macquarie Capital Markets Analyst Laurent Vasilescu, who also voiced concerns about the potential hit to the firm’s top-line performance in the fourth quarter.

A 10 per cent decline in same-store sales at Tiffany’s crown jewel location translates into more than a 0.8 percentage point hit to worldwide same-store sales, Vasilescu reckons.

If President-elect Donald Trump continues to visit Fifth Avenue and 57th Street frequently after he’s sworn in, this drag on sales at the flagship could prove more enduring.

The stock is roughly flat since election day, but has suffered a substantial decline over the past two sessions.

Public displays of opposition to the president-elect and the potential for terrorist attacks and other threats have necessitated a large-scale police presence at Trump Tower since November 8, but balancing economic and security interests will pose a difficult challenge heading into the Christmas shopping season.

A spokesperson for Tiffany’s said the company is in frequent communication with the Secret Service and New York Police Department on matters pertaining to safety and security in the area, and directed visitors to its 57th Street entrance.

Shopper Jessica Klingbaum, who on Saturday attempted to pick up an item she had previously purchased, said she “couldn’t even get into the store, even though it was technically open. The police wouldn’t let people on the sidewalk or into the stores.”

A guard at the Tiffany’s location has moved a metal blockade to allow shoppers access to the store, while other nearby luxury retail locations have reported a downturn in foot traffic recently.

“We believe the business district and the flagship stores like Tiffany, Nike, Henri Bendel, Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Prada are all asking the NYPD to help them limit the impact of these protests,” Vasilescu writes. “We think the city will likely place the protesters on a side street like 56th Street to limit the economic loss to tax revenues from sales.”

The analyst maintained an “outperform” rating and $US82 price target on the stock, while adding that “the name has run up and we are not necessarily pushing the name into the quarter with these protests factored.”

Bloomberg

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