High-end jeweler

Tiffany

(TIF) - Get Report

said revenue rose 18% in the third quarter and the company raised its guidance for full-year profits.

New York-based Tiffany had a profit of $28 million, or 19 cents a share, on sales of $430.1 million compared with $35.2 million, or 24 cents a share, on revenue of $366 million a year ago. The Thomson First Call consensus was for earnings of 19 cents a share. Earnings were affected by a non-recurring $8 million tax benefit in the year-ago period.

The company said it was "delighted by the dramatically improved sales trend in the U.S. this year" but added "our business in Japan has performed below our expectations."

Tiffany also raised its guidance for full-year 2004 earnings to a range of $1.35 to $1.40 a share, compared with a previous forecast of $1.33 to $1.38 a share. The consensus estimate is $1.40 a share.

U.S sales rose 20% to $202.8 million during the quarter ended Oct. 31, while comp store sales were up 16%.

Merrill Lynch recently upgraded Tiffany from neutral to buy and set a 12-month stock price target of $56. Shares closed at $48.13 Wednesday, short of their five year high of $49.13.