By  on August 31, 2006

NEW YORK - Despite strong sales, Tiffany & Co. said Thursday that second-quarter earnings dropped because of a $6.6 million tax benefit in the previous year.

Results were also pulled down by softer sales in Japan as well as higher product costs. But the New York-based purveyor of fine jewelry and other luxury goods vowed that it would deliver a higher growth rate in the long term. Management said on a conference call with analysts that the company is on track to grow total square footage by 7 percent this year.

“Our ongoing plans for store openings and new product introductions sustain our confidence in Tiffany’s ability to achieve higher rates of growth over the long-term,” said Michael J. Kowalski, chairman and chief executive officer.

For the quarter ended July 31, net earnings fell to $41.1 million, or 29 cents a diluted share, from $50.5 million, or 35 cents, in the previous year on sales that climbed 9 percent to $574.9 million from $526.7 million.

For complete coverage, see tomorrow's issue of WWD.

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