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The Globe and Mail

Tiffany sales recovering from Japan quake

The Tiffany & Co. flagship store on Fifth Ave. is photographed Monday, March 23, 2009, in New York.

Mary Altaffer/AP

Tiffany & Co said sales in Japan have picked up more quickly than expected after the March earthquake, and the upscale jeweler raised its full-year profit forecast, sending its shares up more than 2 per cent Thursday.

Globally, sales rose 20 per cent to $761-million (U.S.) in the first quarter, with the largest gains in Asia outside Japan and in the Americas.

Overall sales in Japan, where the chain operates 57 stores, rose 7 per cent during the quarter.

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Tiffany, which gets 18 per cent of its sales in Japan, had forecast in March that sales there would fall 15 per cent during the quarter as a result of Japan's massive earthquake and the tsunami and nuclear disaster that followed.

Sales at Japan stores open at least a year fell 3 per cent, but Tiffany said all of its stores there that had closed after the quake have reopened.

Sales in Asia outside Japan rose 37 per cent, while in the Americas, they were up 19 per cent.

At Tiffany's flagship store on Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, sales rose 23 per cent.

Tiffany forecast Thursday that global net sales would rise by a mid-teens percentage in the current quarter.

Net income rose 25.8 per cent to $81.1-million, or 63 cents per share, from $64.4-million, or 50 cents a year earlier.

Excluding one-time items, Tiffany earned 67 cents a share, beating Wall Street forecasts of 57 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

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Tiffany raised its full-year profit outlook by 10 cents and now expects to earn between $3.45 and $3.55 per share in the fiscal year that ends in January 2012. That compares with Wall Street forecasts of $3.33.

Its shares rose $1.61, or 2.3 percent, in pre-market trading from Wednesday's closing price of $70.04.

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