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NEW YORK CITY-Despite economic weakness domestically, Tiffany & Co. will open some 26 units worldwide, including a new smaller format that could be expanded in the US, executives said at the company’s fourth-quarter conference call.

The company will open six stores in the United States and approximately 20 units internationally this year. One US unit will be in a new, smaller 2,000-sf format, in Los Angeles.

“We believe the design of this exciting smaller store format will help the selling and service environment that will further enhance Tiffany’s appeal to the self-purchase customer and broaden our expansion plans,” said Michael J. Kowalski, chairman and chief executive officer.

International expansion will dominate, including the company’s first units in Spain and Belgium, and openings in Asia and Australia.

For the fourth quarter, sales were $1.1 billion, up 10% from the previous year. Worldwide comp sales rose 1%. Net earnings were $118.3 million, down 16% from the previous year due in part to a number of one-time charges.

For the year, net sales were $2.9 billion, up 15% from the previous year. Comparable store sales increased 7%. Net earnings in the fiscal year increased 20% to $303.8 million, up 20% from last year.

At year-end, the company operated 184 Tiffany & Co. stores and boutiques worldwide.

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