Tiffany gives upbeat 2012 forecast, aided by expansion

NEW YORK, Tue Mar 20, 2012 – Tiffany & Co. forecast higher sales for 2012, helped by further expansion in Asia and the Americas, and the high-end jeweler said that after a bumpy holiday season, business so far this year was on track with its projections.

Shares of the company were up 3.7 percent at $71.25 in premarket trading.

The New York-based chain said in January that its U.S. and European customers had been “restrained” in their shopping because of volatile stock markets and the eurozone crisis, leading to softer-than-expected sales for the important holiday season.

“That was the first warning that the luxury party was coming to an end, but now it seems it was just a speed bump,” said Morningstar analyst Paul Swinand.

U.S. stock markets have since rallied, and the debt crisis in Europe has eased. In a statement, Tiffany CEO Michael Kowalski said global sales growth so far this year was “tracking in line” with the company’s expectations.

Tiffany expects fiscal-year global net sales to be up 10 percent, led by gains in Asia and the Americas. That would be an improvement over the soft holiday sales, but still below last year’s 18 percent clip.

The company forecast a profit of between $3.95 and $4.05 per share, above Wall Street estimates of $3.93, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

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