WRAPUP 2-Holiday sales at Tiffany show little shine; Zale gains

Thu Jan 10, 2013 12:34pm EST
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* Tiffany holiday same-store sales flat worldwide

* Tiffany sees FY '13 net income at low end of own forecast

* Zale U.S. fine jewelry same-store sales up 2.2 percent

* Tiffany shares down 4 pct, Zale up more than 9 pct (Adds analyst comment, updates stock prices)

By Phil Wahba

Jan 10 (Reuters) - Tiffany & Co posted holiday sales that showed its torrid growth of recent years was sputtering in the United States, Japan and Europe, with China the only bright spot for the upscale jeweler.

The company, famed for its blue boxes and its Fifth Avenue flagship in Manhattan, said on Thursday that worldwide sales at stores open at least year were flat in November and December, a period that can account for one-third of jewelers' annual sales and almost half of profit.

Separately, Tiffany's lower-end peer, Zale Corp continued to show an improvement, but at a slower pace. U.S. holiday same-store sales at its Zales and Gordon's stores rose 2.2 percent, well below the year-earlier 9 percent increase.

Tiffany gave a modest profit forecast for the coming fiscal year and Chief Executive Officer Michael Kowalski said Tiffany was planning "conservatively" for next year's sales growth because of "uncertainty" about the economy in all of its major markets.   Continued...