Much as it was for other retailers, the late-2007 holiday shopping season was tough one for Tiffany & Co., which opened a store in Red Bank just as the season was kicking off.

But even as its fourth-quarter profit shrank, the New York-based jewelry and tchotchke merchant’s performance exceeded the expectations of market analysts, the Associated Press reports today.

Tiffany disclosed that its November-through-January sales rose 10 percent, thanks to a 21-percent increase overseas. Domestic sales rose 4 percent, the company reported.

From the AP:

The jewelry retailer said Monday it earned $118.3 million, or 89 cents per share, down from $140.5 million, or $1.02 per share last year. Excluding one-time charges, profit was $1.27 per share, above the $1.21 analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial expected.

One-time items include a charge of 22 cents per share for loans to Tahera Diamond Corp., which sought protection from creditors in January.

Tiffany’s revenue rose 10 percent to $1.05 billion from $958.9 million last year, matching analysts’ predictions.

Tiffany chairman and CEO Michael Kowalski said that while the company expects “robust” growth in it’s non-U.S. markets other than Japan, “we remain cautious about the U.S., although comparable 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.”

The company does not break out sales by store.

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