Sep 21, 2009
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Tiffany optimistic about Christmas

Sep 21, 2009

By Carmel Crimmins and Daryl Loo

DUBLIN (Reuters) - Tiffany & Co is reasonably upbeat about trading prospects during the crucial Christmas holiday period but said on Saturday 19 September its flagship New York store was still not in positive territory.

"We are reasonably optimistic about the holiday season," James Quinn, president of the high-end jeweler, told Reuters on the sidelines of an economic forum in Dublin.

"We are pleased with where we are right now."

Trading in the retailer's New York store remains difficult, however, as recession discourages shoppers from splurging on Tiffany baubles that can cost upward of $100,000.

"We are still not in positive territory," he said. "We are planning financially a more conservative outlook."

Quinn, who oversees Tiffany's business in more than 50 countries, said trading outside of the United States had been encouraging.

"Our business in Europe, all over Europe, has been quite good all year and it's been very strong in some of the Asian markets."

The retailer has faced months of weak sales in the recession but is sticking to its no-discount policy even as lower-priced chains such as Zale Corp cut prices to lure custom.

"No, we still believe the right pricing strategy is to price the product right first time," said Quinn, who was participating in a government forum designed to tap influential people of Irish descent for their ideas on reviving the Irish economy.

Last month, Tiffany said it expected sales to fall this year, albeit at a slightly lower rate, due to easing declines in markets outside the Americas region and easier comparisons with dismal results from a year earlier.

(Editing by Dublin newsroom)

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