Earnings: Tiffany & Co.

Tiffany Profit Falls

NEW YORK -(AP)- Tiffany & Co. (TIF), a seller of jewelry and luxury items, on Tuesday said its profit fell 35 percent in the fourth quarter from results a year earlier that included a one-time gain.

Profit for the quarter ended Jan. 31 fell to $140.3 million, or 97 cents per share, from $217 million, or $1.48 per share, a year earlier. Revenue rose 6 percent to $858.4 million from $810.1 million last year.

Figures from 2004 include a $194 million pretax gain from the sales of shares of Aber Diamond Corp. (ABER), along with a $15 million tax charge and a $25 million contribution to the company.

Analysts expected earnings in the latest quarter of 84 cents per share on revenue of $868.2 million, according to a survey by Thomson Financial.

Sales in stores open at least a year, a widely used retail-industry gauge of performance known as same-stores sales, increased 6 percent in the quarter, excluding the effect of currency exchange rates.

For the year, profit fell to $254.7 million, or $1.75 per share, from $304.3 million, or $2.05 a share, a year earlier. Revenue rose 8 percent to $2.4 billion from $2.2 billion a year earlier.

The company predicted first-quarter earnings would be "equal or slightly higher" than the 27 cents per share recorded during the first quarter last year. For the year, the company reiterated guidance for a profit of between $1.77 to $1.82 per share on 10 percent growth in net sales.

"Our full-year sales objective assumes mid-single-digit worldwide comparable-store sales growth on a constant-exchange-rate basis, including a high-single-digit increase in the United States and low-single-digit growth in local currency in Japan, as well as healthy sales growth in other markets, and opening at least four stores in the U.S. and seven stores (net of closings) internationally," said Michael J. Kowalski, chairman and chief executive.

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