Tiffany: 2008 Holiday “Most Challenging” Since Going Public

New York City Tiffany & Co. on Wednesday said the 2008 holiday season was the most challenging since it went public 21 years ago and lowered its 2008 profit forecast as a result.

Earlier Wednesday, Tiffany cut its yearly profit outlook due to weak consumer spending. Many jewelers have struggled to post robust sales because shoppers have curbed discretionary spending.

"The 2008 holiday season was the most challenging in the 21 years since Tiffany became a public company," said Mark Aaron, Tiffany's VP investor relations.

Aaron, speaking on a conference call with analysts, said the company's Manhattan flagship store, which generates about 10% of yearly revenue, was hurt by a slowing in international tourists to the area.

"The slowdown in sales to European visitors that affected the New York flagship store was probably consistent with the recent industry report of a slowing in overall tourism to New York," Aaron said.

Tiffany will offer an early retirement program to about 800 U.S. employees to help cut costs. The company will record one-time charges that are yet to be determined in the fourth quarter for these moves.