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Globally, Tiffany's sales rose 18 per cent to US$3.6 billion (Dh13.22bn) in the year ending on January 31, and net profit increased 19 per cent to $439 million, compared with 2010. Pawan Singh / The National
Globally, Tiffany's sales rose 18 per cent to US$3.6 billion (Dh13.22bn) in the year ending on January 31, and net profit increased 19 per cent to $439 million, compared with 2010. Pawan Singh / The National

Tiffany to add lustre in region with new stores

Tiffany & Co, one of the biggest jewellers in the world, plans to increase its sales in the Middle East by five times over the next three years as it invests in new stores, advertising and products.

Tiffany & Co, one of the largest jewellers in the world, plans to increase its Middle Eastern sales fivefold over the next three years as it invests in new stores, advertising and products.

The jeweller, based in New York, joins a host of local players that are investing in the sector as confidence grows with strong consumer spending.

"The region is important for the company on different levels," said Laurent Cathala, the vice president of emerging markets for Tiffany.

"The economy is good. Our presence has been limited here but the brand has been really appreciated."

Globally, Tiffany's sales rose 18 per cent to US$3.6 billion (Dh13.22bn) in the year ending on January 31, and net profit increased 19 per cent to $439 million, compared with 2010.

Mr Cathala said the company aims to increase sales in the region by "five to six" times but declined to disclose a sales figure in the region last year.

He added that Tiffany would spend "millions" of dirhams on advertising this year.

The New York luxury brand is celebrating its 175th anniversary and yesterday launched a new precious metal in celebration.

Called Rubedo, the metal is a mix of copper, gold and silver and will be used in a variety of pieces, including necklaces, rings and pendants.

A strong player in the engagement rings sector globally, Tiffany also hopes to expand this aspect of the business in the Emirates.

The market for luxury jewellery in the UAE has been growing strongly in recent years and jewellers are investing in major store expansions. Euromonitor, a research consultancy, estimates that spending on luxury jewellery and timepieces in the UAE increased from $509m in 2010 to nearly $600m last year.

Meanwhile, Dubai traded more than $40bn of diamonds last year, a record, according to the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre.

Malabar Gold & Diamonds, a jeweller based in Dubai with huge operations in South India, announced last month it would tap investors for $700m to embark on a global expansion aimed at making it the world's largest jeweller.

Pure Gold Jewellers, headquartered in Dubai, plans to invest Dh1bn in new stores and factories during the next five years, and the company has entered into talks with a number of Islamic banks to help to finance the expansion.

Joyalukkas, also based in Dubai, said last month that it was confident of raising $100m in a syndicated loan to expand its network of stores. With five stores in the UAE and 15 in the rest of the Middle East, Tiffany is not out to compete with the big-volume jewellers, but offer products in a higher price bracket.

It is set to renovate and upgrade some stores, while closing others to open in more favourable locations.

In the UAE, it signed a joint venture with Damas International to help operate in the country and act as a shareholder.

Damas last week received a joint buyout bid from Mannai Corporation, a Qatari conglomerate, and EFG-Hermes, an Egyptian investment bank, valuing Damas at $445m.

Tiffany opened an office in Dubai last year, which now serves as the jeweller's fourth international headquarters after other regional offices in London, Tokyo and Hong Kong, plus its flagship shop on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan.

Tiffany & Co was founded in 1837 in New York, and the company has about 230 stores worldwide.

rjones@thenational.ae

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