Tiffany’s closes in on UK consultancy hire

Iconic US jewellery retailer Tiffany & Co is set to draft in fresh UK PR support and has shortlisted agencies with a view to making an appointment within weeks.

Luxury goods specialist Halpern is understood to be the frontrunner to secure the account, having beaten off competition from global giants, including Weber Shandwick.

PR chiefs from Tiffany’s US and UK head offices have overseen pitches for the contract, which is likely to focus on media relations and events.

Tiffany’s was formerly promoted in the UK by Aurelia Public Relations, but the agency ceased to represent the firm earlier this year and is not in the running for the fresh contract.

A New York-based Tiffany’s spokesman said the appointed agency would work alongside its two-strong UK in-house PR operation on a programme for which the scope was still being ‘ironed out’.

Tiffany’s opened its fourth London store in Sloane Street just three months ago. Halpern works with property developer Cadogan Estate, which is pumping cash into the Sloane Street area in a bid to woo high-end retailers to the area.

Tiffany’s reported increased quarterly profits in May but said earnings for the year were likely to be lower than expected due to rising costs.

The firm made £23m in the first quarter, compared with around £21m for same period last year.

It is to open a chain of pearl-only jewellery stores later this year under the brand name Iridesse.

The company plans to open 20 Iridesse stores within five years, with the brand focused exclusively on pearls and pearl jewellery.

Tiffany’s became well known after the opening scene of 1961 US film Breakfast at Tiffany’s in which a socialite played by Audrey Hepburn nibbles a doughnut in front of Tiffany’s Fifth Avenue store.

The firm’s first overseas store opened in London’s Bond Street in 1987. Sixty per cent of sales come from the US, with 25 per cent from Japan.

The company is taking legal action in the US District Court in New York against eBay, claiming the online auctioneer infringed its registered trademark by allowing counterfeit merchandise to be sold on its website.

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