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Tiffany Rings Up Profit Beat

The jewelry retail beats profit expectations by 10 cents a share, in large part to robust overseas growth.

Jewelry retailer

Tiffany & Co.

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Friday reported first-quarter results that exceeded expectations, in large part to a sharp rise in Asian and European sales.

Net earnings from continuing operations came to $64.4 million, or 50 cents a share, up more than 20% from $53.8 million, or 39 cents a share, a year ago. Analysts were looking for 40 cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Sales increased 12% to $668.1 million, vs. $595.7 million in the prior year. On a constant-exchange-rate basis, net sales and comparable-store sales rose 8% and 3%, respectively. Wall Street was looking for $648.97 million.

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In the Americas, sales rose 6% to $373.6 million while comparable-store sales were flat. Overseas, however, the sales increases were greater.

In the Asia-Pacific region, sales rose 21% to $222 million, or 10% on a constant-exchange-rate basis, while comp-store sales increased 4%. Sales in Europe increased 38% to $60.1 million, or 30% on a constant-exchange-rate basis, while comp-store sales rose 12%.

"We are maintaining a cautious outlook for U.S. sales and do not expect an improvement until later this year," said CEO Michael Kowalski in a statement. Because worldwide sales so far in May are meeting the company's expectations and overseas sales are offsetting soft U.S. sales, the company believes it can achieve its full year growth expectations.

"Specifically, we are looking for worldwide net sales growth of approximately 10% in 2008 and now expect net earnings per diluted share to increase to $2.80 - $2.90," Kowalski said.

The company plans to open 24 stores across the U.S., Asia-Pacific and Europe this year.

Tiffany shares were up $1.62, or 3.4%, at $49.36 in recent trading Friday morning.

This article was written by a staff member of