Tiffany 1Q earnings up 25 pct, raises year view

By the Associated Press | May 26, 2011 | 8:58 AM EDT

A woman walks out from Tiffany's Fifth Avenue store with a purchase, Wednesday, May 25, 2011 in New York. Tiffany said Thursday, its first-quarter earnings rose 25 percent on worldwide sales growth. It also raised its forecast for the year. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

NEW YORK (AP) — In another sign that the luxury sector remains strong, Tiffany & Co. said Thursday its first-quarter profit rose 25 percent on higher revenue across all regions worldwide.

The results handily beat expectations and the jewelry maker also raised its forecast for the year above current Wall Street estimates.

Shares rose $2.46, or 3.5 percent, to $72.50 in pre-market trading.

The New York company, known for its iconic turquoise box, said net income rose to $81.1 million, or 63 cents per share, for the three months ended April 30, up from $64.4 million, or 50 cents per share, a year earlier. Net income includes 4 cents per share of expenses related to Tiffany relocating its headquarters in New York.

Analysts expected 57 cents per share, according to FactSet.

Revenue jumped 20 percent to $761 million from $633.6 million last year, sharply higher than analyst predictions of $702.6 million.

Notably, sales in Japan recovered quickly following the devastating earthquake and tsunami. About a quarter of Tiffany's stores are in Japan. Sales in Japan rose 7 percent to $123.4 million. Revenue in stores open at least one year, a key industry metric, fell 3 percent. Tiffany said all stores closed due to the earthquake have reopened.

Revenue in the Americas, Tiffany's largest region, rose 19 percent to $374.7 million. The region includes the U.S., Canada and Latin America. Revenue from stores open at least one year rose 17 percent, including a 23 percent jump at Tiffany's flagship store in New York, a mecca for tourists.

Revenue in Asia-Pacific rose 37 percent to $167.2 million. In Europe, revenue rose by a quarter to $85.6 million.

Looking forward, CEO Michael Kowalski said Tiffany will introduce new products this year, increase marketing and advertising and open 19 new stores during the year.

For the full year, Tiffany now expects adjusted net income of $3.45 and $3.55 per share from prior guidance of $3.35 to $3.45 per share. Analysts expected earnings of $3.31 a share.

Sales are expected to grow by a "mid-teens percentage" worldwide.