NEW YORK CITY-Rebounding sales in foreign markets helped luxury jeweler Tiffany & Co. score a 7.7% increase in first-quarter profits as net income climbed to $43.1 million, or 30 cents a share, exceeding analyst estimates.

Profits jumped $3 million over the same quarter last year when the world’s second largest jeweler reported a profit of $40.1 million, or 27 cents a share. Revenue increased by 5.8% to $539.2 million, for the period ending April 30, compared to $509.9 million a year earlier.

Although sales in the US grew just 2% overall and were down 1% in stores open at least one year, international sales were up 12% with sales at stores open at least a year gaining 16%.

Japan, Tiffany’s largest international market, accounted for much of that off-shore sales growth although sales were also strong in other areas of Asia and Europe. Comp store sales in Europe rose 24% during the quarter.

Domestically, same store sales suffered due largely to a cutback in tourist spending, primarily at the company’s flagship store on Fifth Avenue in New York, where sales were off 7%, the company said. Sales in Hawaii also suffered due to fewer Japanese tourists. Higher priced jewelry items also declined, according to the company.

Company officials said the firm will be making some expansion moves in the coming year with five new stores set to open domestically in Nashville, Indianapolis, Tucson, Atlantic City and Hawaii. Eight foreign stores are also scheduled to open this year, including ones in Vienna, Austria; Vancouver, Canada; and Shanghai and Beijing in China. The company said it has launched a website in China in preparation of store openings in that country.

The New York City-based jewelry retailer also reaffirmed its full-year earnings outlook but lowered its US forecast to mid-single digits from high single digits. The firm raised its forecast for same store sales growth in Japan, however, increasing that forecast to mid-single digits from low single digits.

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