* 2nd-quarter profit, sales beat estimates
* Americas, Asia-Pacific sales growth buoys results
* Raises full-year profit view to $4.20-$4.30 from
* Shares rise to a life high of $105.65
(Adds background, details from conference call, graphic link)
Aug 27 Upscale jeweler Tiffany & Co
raised its full-year profit forecast for a second time following
a better-than-expected rise in quarterly profit, driven by
strong sales and higher prices for its high-end jewelry in the
Americas, its biggest market.
Tiffany's shares rose 4.9 percent to a record high of
$105.65 in early trading on Wednesday after the company posted
its strongest sales growth in the Americas in nearly two years.
Sales in the region, which accounts for nearly half of
overall sales, rose 10 percent, excluding currency fluctuations,
in the second quarter ended July 31 - stronger than the 7
percent overall growth in the period and the first double digit
growth since the third quarter of 2011.
Tiffany had been struggling for the past two years to find
the right balance in the United States between the pricey
jewelry for which it is known and cheaper silver items that
generate a quarter of sales.
The rebound was evident at its Fifth Avenue flagship store
in Manhattan where sales rose, helped by higher spending by
tourists from China and Europe and more Americans shoppers. The
store accounts for 8 percent of revenue.
"If they can get the U.S. business going and they can get
the silver business going, that would be a very positive impact
to profit margins," Edward Jones analyst Brian Yarbrough said.
"I think you're starting to see some signs of that."
Gross margin increased to 59.9 percent in the second quarter
from 57.5 percent a year earlier due to lower raw material costs
and higher average selling prices.
"We were ... pleased with solid performance across most
product categories, ranging from the success of perennial
classics in fine, statement and engagement jewelry to our newest
Atlas collection," said Chief Executive Michael Kowalski, who
recently announced plans to retire next year.
That helped Tiffany, which is usually cautious in its
outlook, raise its earnings forecast for the year ending Jan. 31
to $4.20-$4.30 per share from $4.15-$4.25.
The forecast was slightly better than the average analyst
estimate of $4.29, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
The 10 percent rise in Americas sales in the quarter was
bettered by a 13 percent rise in sales in the Asia-pacific
region, excluding Japan.
Same-store sales increased 8 percent in the Americas and 7
percent in Asia-Pacific. Total same-store sales rose 3 percent.
Tiffany's net income rose 16 percent to $124.1 million, or
96 cents per share. Net sales rose 7.2 percent to $992.9
Analysts on average had expected a profit of 85 cents per
share on revenue of $987.9 million.
Tiffany's shares were up 1.3 percent at $102.06 in midday
trading. Up to Tuesday's close, the stock has risen 8.6 percent
this year, outstripping the 1.9 percent rise in the S&P 500
(Reporting by Devika Krishna Kumar and Ramkumar Iyer in
Bangalore; Editing by Savio D'Souza)