LAS VEGAS-Tiffany & Co. will open a two-level, 10,000-sf store within the massive Citycenter development rising between the Monte Carlo and Bellagio resorts on the Las Vegas Strip. The publicly traded jeweler from New York City will have a two-level, 10,000-sf store within the multi-billion mini-city when it opens en masse in late 2009.

The Tiffany store will be located within the Crystals, the 500,000-sf retail and entertainment district being built within Citycenter. It will be the third Tiffany store in Las Vegas. Tiffany has operated a store at the Bellagio since 1998 and in 2007 opened a store in the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace.

The Citycenter store will be one of between eight and 12 Tiffany stores that will open in 2009. This year Tiffany will open six stores. To that end, the company reveals in SEC filings that it has inked 10-year leases for a 5,900-sf store in Topanga Plaza in Los Angeles; a 6,000-sf store in West Hartford, CT; a 6,100-sf store in Columbus, OH; and a 2,600-sf store in Glendale, CA.

The size of Tiffany’s branch stores generally range from 1,300 sf to 18,000 sf, while its flagship store in New York City totals more than 25,000 sf. Most of the company’s stores opened since 2001 are approximately 5,500 sf and display primarily jewelry and timepieces, with a select assortment of china and crystal giftware. The company says it will continue to open similarly sized stores at a rate of five-to-seven a year.

This Glendale store will be the first to employ the company’s new smaller format concept, which it wants to grow at a rate of three- to five units per year. The smaller-format stores will carry a reduced selection of merchandise “in order to concentrate on higher-margin products…” and will be used to access “affluent, albeit smaller, US cities and to better serve larger markets,” according to the company’s annual report.

Tiffany & Co.’s fiscal year ended on Jan. 31, 2008. In its year-end report, the company reported a 4% fourth quarter increase in US sales to $527.9 million and an 11% increase for the year to $1.47 billion. In explaining the performance, the company cited higher spending per transaction in both periods as well as an increased number of transactions for the year and a greater number of US stores in operation (70 versus 64).

Comparable store sales in the US declined 1% in the quarter but were up 7% for the year. More specifically, the company said sales in the New York flagship store rose 10% for the quarter and 21% for the year, in part due to higher sales to foreign tourists. Comparable branch store sales declined 4% for the quarter but were up 4% for the year.

International sales rose 21% to $422.5 million in the fourth quarter and rose 19% on the year to $1.2 billion. Comparable store sales growth was 6% for the quarter and 7% for the year due to increased sales in markets other than Japan. The company operated 114 Tiffany stores and boutiques internationally at the end of the year, versus 103 locations a year ago.

“In 2008, we expect to see robust growth in our non-U.S. markets other than Japan,” states the annual report. “We remain cautious about the U.S. Although comparable U.S. store sales are currently increasing slightly we still expect a slight decline in comparable U.S. store sales in the first half of the year.”

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