By  on June 1, 2007

Tiffany & Co. on Thursday posted first-quarter results that beat Wall Street's expectations by a penny, and raised full-year earnings per share guidance.

The company also said it was going to increase the number of stores by 10 percent.

For the three months ended April 30, net income rose 15.1 percent to 49.7 million, or 36 cents a share, from $43.1 million, or 30 cents, in the same year-ago quarter. Sales also rose 15.1 percent to $620.9 million from $539.2 million.

The company said U.S. retail sales gained 15 percent to $298.7 million, with same-store sales rising 12 percent. Comps at the New York flagship jumped 26 percent, while same-store sales in branch stores increased 9 percent. International sales gained 15 percent to $248 million, but growth in Japan lagged other overseas regions. Direct marketing sales increased 11 percent to $33.3 million due to the growth in the number of orders and the average amount spent per order.

Michael J. Kowalski, chairman and chief executive officer, said in a statement that the jewelry retailer plans to increase the number of Tiffany & Co. locations by 10 percent as well as introduce new product designs. "We are now one month into the second quarter, and sales in May are achieving our overall expectation. Strong sales growth in the U.S. and in most international markets is offsetting continued weakness in Japan," Kowalski said.

He added that, based on "planned initiatives and a continued favorable retail environment," the company is expecting 12 percent sales growth and earnings per diluted share in the range of $2.10 to $2.15.

Tiffany's previous guidance was diluted EPS of $2.07. The anticipated 12 percent sales growth would raise yearly sales to almost $3 billion.

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