Tiffany Sales Miss on Weak Demand in Japan

Upscale jeweler Tiffany & Co reported a better-than-expected rise in same-store sales, mainly due to strong demand in the Americas, sending its shares to a record high.

The company's new jewelry lines, such as the Atlas Collection and Tiffany T, have been popular with customers.

Sales in the Americas rose 10 percent to $459 million in the third quarter ended Oct. 31, accounting for nearly half of total revenue.

"I think the marketing, the better in-store execution and the new product lines are what's really driving the U.S. business," Edward Jones analyst Brian Yarbrough told Reuters.

The Tiffany T line of fashion jewelry, created by new design director Francesca Amfitheatrof, features trendy bracelets, necklaces and rings made with silver, traditional gold, and white and rose gold. Items are priced between $350 and $20,000.

In its Atlas collection, the company sells gold and silver lariats, rings and pendants.

Tiffany's shares rose 5.3 percent in early trading to hit a record high of $108.50.

Overall same-store sales rose 4 percent on a constant-currency basis, beating the 3.7 percent average increase that analysts polled by research firm Consensus Metrix had estimated.

Tiffany's gross margins rose to 59.5 percent in the quarter from 57 percent, largely due to higher prices and better sales of high-margin gold items in its fashion jewelry lines.

The jeweler cut its full-year sales forecast, however, citing the strength of the dollar.

Tiffany now expects sales to grow by a mid-to-high-single digit percentage for the year ending Jan. 31, compared with its prior forecast for high-single digit growth.

Tiffany's net income fell 60 percent to $38.3 million, or 29 cents per share, in the third quarter.

The company recorded an after-tax charge of $61 million, or 47 cents per share, due to early repayment of debt. Excluding items, Tiffany earned 76 cents per share.

Revenue rose 5.2 percent to $959.6 million, but missed analysts' average estimate due to a weak performance in Japan, where sales fell 12 percent.

Analysts on average expected a profit of 77 cents per share on revenue of $968.9 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Up to Monday's close, Tiffany's shares had risen 13.2 percent this year. (Reporting by Ramkumar Iyer in Bangalore; Editing by Siddharth Cavale)