Tiffany Expects 10% Sales Growth in 2008

Tiffany & Co. said Friday it is expecting double-digit international growth and single-digit domestic growth for 2008.

“Our U.S. sales results for the month of January were modestly improved from December and we are seeing ongoing strength in Asia-Pacific outside Japan and in Europe,” said Michael J. Kowalski, Tiffany chairman and chief executive officer. “Generally speaking, we are planning our U.S. businesses cautiously for the first half of 2008 while planning for continued healthy international sales growth throughout the year.”

For fiscal 2008, Tiffany said it is planning for at least a 10 percent increase in worldwide net sales. This includes:

* High-single-digit percentage increase in U.S. retail sales, reflecting a low-single-digit increase in comparable store sales and the planned opening of six stores;

* A mid-teens percentage increase in international retail sales, which reflects a mid-single-digit increase in same-store sales (on a constant-exchange-rate basis that excludes the effect of translating foreign-currency-denominated sales into U.S. dollars) and the opening of 15-20 stores and boutiques (net of closings);

* A mid-single-digit percentage increase in Direct Marketing sales; and

* A low-single-digit percentage increase in other sales.

Based on these sales assumptions, the company said it is planning for a mid-single-digit percentage increase in net earnings and a low-double-digit increase in diluted earnings per share (reflecting fewer shares outstanding).

“We enter the new fiscal year with confidence in our store expansion opportunities, our line-up of new product designs, and our ability to enhance customer awareness through our marketing program,” Kowalski said. “We believe our 2008 financial expectations appropriately reflect current macro-related challenges in the U.S. as well as the benefit of our global, geographical diversification which, combined with planned margin and expense levels, can generate low-double-digit net earnings per share growth for the year.”

The company expects to report its fourth quarter and full year results on March 24.

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