Tiffany Earnings Fall, But DM Sales Rise

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High-end jewelry retailer Tiffany & Co. reported yesterday that its net earnings declined for the fourth quarter and full year ended Jan. 31 due to a one-time gain in December 2004.

However, direct marketing sales increased 15 percent to $70.9 million in the quarter and 11 percent to $157.5 million for the year. The growth resulted from a rise in orders and in average order, the New York company said.

Net sales of $858.4 million for Q4 2005 were 6 percent higher than $810.1 million in the year-ago period. Net earnings were $140.3 million, down from $217.0 million.

For fiscal 2005, net sales rose 9 percent to $2.4 billion compared with $2.2 billion the prior year. Net earnings were $254.7 million, down from $304.3 million the prior year.

In fiscal 2004, earnings in the fourth quarter and year benefited from a pre-tax gain of $194 million resulting from the company's sale of its shares in Aber Diamond Corp. but were hurt by the following pre-tax items: a charge of $15 million related to impairment of assets and exiting from a specialty retail concept; and a contribution of $25 million to The Tiffany & Co. Foundation.

"We are pleased with Tiffany's overall success in 2005," said Michael J. Kowalski, Tiffany & Co. chairman/CEO. "We increased sales in the U.S. and in many international markets, improved performance in Japan, opened stores that generated strong initial results, expanded our product offerings with exciting, new designs and strengthened our product-sourcing capabilities."

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