Tiffany raises forecast as new jewelry collections sparkle

Wed May 21, 2014 10:47am EDT
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By Devika Krishna Kumar

(Reuters) - Tiffany & Co (TIF.N: Quote) raised its full-year profit forecast after the jewelry chain reported better-than-expected quarterly results as new collections drove sales in the United States, its biggest market.

Shares of Tiffany, known for its blue boxes and its Fifth Avenue flagship store in Manhattan, rose as much as 10 percent on Wednesday morning, making the stock one of the top percentage gainers on the New York Stock Exchange.

Tiffany has been struggling for the past two years to find the right balance between the pricey jewelry for which it is known and cheaper silver items that generate a quarter of sales.

Edward Jones analyst Brian Yarbrough said Tiffany's U.S. business had lagged other regions for several quarters, mainly as it was weak in lower-priced silver jewelry category.

"Strength in fine and statement jewelry sales continued, while sales of our new or expanded jewelry collections accelerated, led by our ATLAS collection," Chief Executive Michael Kowalski said in a statement.

Tiffany's fine jewelry is priced a few thousand dollars, while statement jewelry pieces can go as high as $50,000 and above.

The Atlas Collection is a new range that focuses on silver jewelry - including lariats, rings and pendants - priced below $500. Tiffany's profit margin in these pieces is higher than in expensive jewelry.

The company's Fifth Avenue store, which accounts for 8 percent of its overall sales, has benefited as more tourists visit the marquee store and spend more on jewelry.   Continued...

Pedestrians walk past the Tiffany's store in New York in this November 26, 2013 file photo. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/Files