Friday 6 December 2019

Jeweller Tiffany says holiday sales were lower than expected, due to Trump

Why Tiffany's sales were affected by the president-elect

Tiffany's reported a decrease in profits at its flagship store near Trump Tower Picture: REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
Tiffany's reported a decrease in profits at its flagship store near Trump Tower Picture: REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton Newsdesk Newsdesk

Jeweller Tiffany & Co said that its sales during the November to December holiday period were "somewhat lower" than it had expected, hurt by lower consumer spending and a drop in sales at its flagship store in New York.

It's flagship store is located next to Trump Tower had warned in November that sales in the quarter ending January 2017 could be hurt by protests and stepped-up security in the area since the election.

The company said that its worldwide net sales rose 0.5 percent, while worldwide comparable sales fell two percent during the holiday season as sales growth in Asia-Pacific and Japan was offset by lower sales in the Americas and Europe.

The company's net sales and comparable sales in the Americas fell 4 percent. Sales at its flagship store on Fifth Avenue in New York declined 14 percent, partly as store traffic in Manhattan took a hit following the U.S. election.

Meanwhile, dozens of protesters gathered outside of Goldman Sachs Group Inc headquarters on Tuesday to rally against President-elect Donald Trump's picking several former executives of the Wall Street bank for top jobs in his administration.

Some of the 50 or so protesters wore swamp-monster masks in reference to Trump's pledge to "drain the swamp" that he said Washington has become and get rid of special interests. About 20 of them brought sleeping bags, intending to camp outside 200 West Street until Trump's inauguration on Friday.

Goldman Sachs security guards sent employees and guests to entrances on the north side of the building on the rainy evening as protesters unrolled green sleeping bags on the southwest corner.

In an emailed statement, Goldman Sachs spokeswoman Tiffany Galvin said the bank respects "every individual's rights to assembly and free speech."

She declined to comment on the protesters' objections to Trump's nominations of ex-Goldman employees including Steve Mnuchin, Trump's pick to lead the U.S. Treasury Department. Others include Gary Cohn, who had been chief operating officer before becoming Trump's economic adviser, and Dina Powell, who left her position as Goldman's head of philanthropic investing to do the same.

Goldman Sachs had long been viewed as Wall Street's most prestigious and profitable bank with so many executives leaving for high-profile government positions it earned the nickname "Government Sachs." But in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, Goldman instead found itself blamed by politicians and activists for profiting from the implosion of the mortgage market.

In response, the bank embarked on a public relations campaign to clean up its image and launched initiatives to help small businesses, prisoners and female entrepreneurs. But the string of Trump appointments has renewed some of public contempt it received during the Occupy Wall Street protests in 2011.

Nelini Stamp (29) an organiser with a group called Working Families, said she also participated in that movement and Trump's appointments drove her to come back.

"We're here to make sure that people realize that Goldman Sachs is running our government," Stamp said.

Holding a sign with the image of a swamp monster biting down on a gold bar emblazoned with #GovernmentSachs and "foreclosures," Ethan Cantor (25) said it was his first time at a protest.

The New Jersey native said Trump's embrace of Goldman Sachs contradicted criticism the president-elect had leveled against Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton for speaking fees she received from the bank.

"He used Goldman as a dig against Hillary," said Cantor, who said he reluctantly voted for Democratic candidates in the last election. "One good thing about (Trump's) campaign was that it was populist. Now he's lying to his own voters."


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