Nov 2, 2010
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Tiffany eyes aggressive expansion in China

Nov 2, 2010

BEIJING, Nov 2, 2010 AFP © - US jeweller Tiffany & Co has said it aims to make a major push into China as it seeks to tap a growing appetite for luxury goods among the country's new wealthy.

Tiffany & Co.
Tiffany & Co., Fifth Avenue, Manhatten

"China will rapidly become the place where we will have the greatest number of new stores," Tiffany chairman Michael J. Kowalski told the China Daily in a report Tuesday.

The firm -- showcased in the 1961 film "Breakfast at Tiffany's" starring Audrey Hepburn -- plans to open 25 to 30 outlets across the country over the next three years, it said.

During its current fiscal year, which ends in January, the company will inaugurate 14 stores around the world, four of them in China, it added.

"We will keep the same pace on store openings during the next fiscal year, but will invest more in China's second and even third-tier cities," Kowalski said.

In the second quarter of 2010, Tiffany recorded its fastest China growth ever at 27 percent from the same period in 2009, the report said.

Kowalski said full-year sales in the Asia-Pacific region, led by China, could rise around 25 percent.

Tiffany currently has 12 retail stores and boutiques in China, including three in Beijing, four in Shanghai and one in the southwestern city of Chengdu, it said.

China has the world's second-highest number of dollar billionaires after the United States, according to the latest rich list released by Forbes magazine.

Thanks to the country's three-decade economic boom, a new class of wealthy Chinese has seized on luxury products as status symbols.

Last year, China was the world's second-largest market for both diamonds and gold.

Tiffany expects China to surpass the United States to become the biggest jewellery market in the world over the next five to 10 years, the report said.

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