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Some Holiday Sparkle for Tiffany

Holiday sales are mixed with Japan showing weakness again, but the compoany is bullish on 2005.
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Updated from 7:57 a.m. EST

Tiffany & Co.


shares jumpef Friday after the luxury jeweler reported mixed holiday sales results, but offered positive guidance.

Overall sales in the period from Nov. 1 to Dec. 31 increased 12% to $673.8 million with worldwide store sales up 6%. Excluding the impact of the weak dollar, net sales rose 10% and same-store sales increased 4%.

Overall U.S. retail sales rose 11% and 8% on a same-store basis. International sales rose 6% when currency fluctuations are factored in. Same-store sales, however, fell 2%, led by a 7% decline in Japan.

"In Japan, comparable store sales results remained below our expectations; however, despite challenging market conditions, we believe our initiatives with new stores and products will ultimately lead to improved performance," the company said.

The company, however, offered bullish 2005 guidance, calling for revenue growth of 8% to 10% and EPS growth of 10% to 12%, excluding items.

In November, the company reported a sharp drop in third-quarter earnings -- partly reflecting a weak Japanese market -- and lowered future guidance.

At the time Tiffany forecast full-year EPS of $1.43 to $1.48, which the company reaffirmed in its news release Friday.

Since then Tiffany completed the sale of its equity interest in Aber Diamond Corporation, which it said will contribute additional earnings of approximately 84 cents a share.

Tiffany reports full-year results Jan. 31.

Shares were up $2.21, or 7.3%, to $32.51, after slumping in premarket trading.