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April 26, 2017

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Asia remains crown jewel for Tiffany during strong 4Q

NEW YORK -- Profits at Tiffany & Co. slipped 3 percent in the fourth quarter due to flagging U.S. sales, but strong demand in China and Japan pushed the luxury jeweler past Wall Street expectations and its shares rose sharply Friday.

Tiffany has struggled with weakening sales in its biggest market as Americans and tourists spend less at U.S. locations, including its flagship store on Manhattan's 5th Avenue next to Trump Tower.

CEO Frederic Cumenal, who was brought in to revitalize the brand, resigned last month after less than two years on the job.

Tiffany's fourth-quarter sales in the Americas fell 3 percent compared with the same period last year. Sales at the 5th Avenue location tumbled 7 percent. The location, a must-stop for many tourists and New Yorkers looking to spend, has been impeded by the security barricades around President Donald Trump's personal home, according to Tiffany.

On the flip side, sales in the Asia-Pacific region rose 9 percent, thanks to stronger demand in China. And sales in Japan jumped 15 percent.

Overall, the company reported net income of US$157.8 million, or US$1.26 per share, in the three months ending Jan. 31, compared with US$163.2 million, or US$1.28 per share, in the same quarter a year ago. Adjusted for asset impairment costs, per-share earns were US$1.45, beating the per-share earnings of US$1.37 that industry analysts had expected, according to a survey by Zacks Investment Research.

Revenue rose 1 percent to US$1.23 billion, just edging out industry analyst projections.

For the year, the New York company had a profit of US$446.1 million, or US$3.55 per share. Revenue was US$4 billion.

For fiscal year 2017, the company expects its earnings and revenue to rise, but did not provide specific numbers.

Its stock rose US$2.44, or 2.7 percent, to close Friday at US$92.42.

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