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Tiffany Beats Wall Street Estimates

NEW YORK (AP) — Fueled by strong sales and successful new store openings, Tiffany & Co. reported a 65 percent profit increase for the third quarter, beating Wall Street estimates. Its shares soared.

The upscale jeweler and specialty retailer, which is bucking the trend toward slower consumer spending reported by many retailers, earned $36.32 million, or 24 cents per share, in the three months ended Oct. 31. That compares with $21.96 million, or 15 cents per share, in the year-ago period.

Analysts surveyed by First Call/Thomson Financial had expected Tiffany would earn 21 cents per share.

On Wednesday, Tiffany shares jumped nearly 12 percent, or $4.13 a share, to close at $39.38 on the New York Stock Exchange.

Revenue increased 15 percent to $369.7 million from $322.7 million a year ago.

In the first nine months, Tiffany earned $105.91 million, or 70 cents per share, on sales of $1.08 billion. In the year-ago period, the retailer earned $61.1 million, or 41 cents per share, on sales of $902 million.

``We are especially pleased to see that the strength continues to span our wide range of product categories and price points,'' said Michael J. Kowalski, president and chief executive. ``We believe we are competitively well-positioned and prepared to achieve our plan of high single-digit sales growth in the U.S. and Japan and to, therefore, enjoy another successful holiday season.''

U.S. retail sales rose 13 percent to $181.7 million in the third quarter. Sales in stores open at least a year, known as same-store sales, rose 18 percent in the third quarter, compared to 22 percent gain in the year-ago period. That includes an 11 percent sales gain in Tiffany's New York flagship store and 21 percent growth in its branch stores. For the first nine months of the year, U.S. same-store sales rose 21 percent.

The company's international retail sales increased 16 percent to $154.7 million in the third quarter, and gained 22 percent to $455.4 for the nine-month period.

In Japan, Tiffany's largest international market, same-store sales in local currency rose 10 percent in the third quarter and 12 percent during the nine-month period.

Direct marketing sales, which includes corporate, catalog and Internet sales, were $33.3 million in the third quarter and $90.7 million in the nine-month period, representing gains of 18 percent and 17 percent respectively.


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