Donald Trump’s post-election chaos on Fifth Avenue hurts Tiffany sales

Location, location, location does not mean squat when your front door is barricaded by police

Rachael Revesz
New York
@RachaelRevesz
Tuesday 17 January 2017 17:48
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It's not so easy to window shop at Tiffany's flagship store
It's not so easy to window shop at Tiffany's flagship store

When Audrey Hepburn gazed wistfully though the windows of Tiffany’s on Fifth Avenue in 1961, she was unobstructed by police, protesters, or a President-elect.

Flash forward to 2017 and the iconic store of blue boxes is right beside Trump Tower, the hub of political activity, the house of President-elect Donald Trump and the eye of all international news correspondents.

As a result, the jewelry company’s flagship outlet suffered heavily over the Christmas period, with sales at the Manhattan branch down by 14 per cent over November and December compared to a year ago.

Alongside the police officers, metal barriers, and flank of television crews, passersby and potential shoppers have to approach the store from round the side of the building.

Walking around Fifth Avenue has become a nightmare for tourists who may not be familiar with the area.

Tiffany warned in late November about “some adverse effect on traffic” and “softness” at the Fifth Avenue store due to “the impact of recent election-related activity.”

A company spokesman told The Independent that the flagship location represents less than 10 per cent of its $4 billion worldwide sales. It has employed several staff to stand outside and help direct shoppers to the Fifth Avenue or the 57th Street entrances.

"it's not quite the way it used to be," he said. "But both entrances are open."

Would shoppers be tempted to navigate this crowd?

Tiffany CEO Frederic Cumenal said on Tuesday that he did not expect “any significant improvement in 2017” due to macroeconomic challenges facing the company.

Some other luxury brands, such as Richemont, reported an uptick in sales over the holiday season. Others, however, like Michael Kors and Nordstrom have fallen over the past year.

The President-elect has promised to cut taxes and regulation, a boon for large corporations. He has not spoken about the companies suffering on his doorstep, however.

Mr Trump is moving to Washington DC soon to receive his inauguration before he steps into the White House, which may relieve the police and security presence on Fifth Avenue.

His wife, Melania Trump, and his son, Barron, will remain in New York, however, at least until the end of the school year.

Tiffany shares fell around 9.2 per cent from 9 December to 6 January, but have since rebounded. They are up 4.6 per cent year to date.

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