Despite a slowing economy and simmering political uncertainty, Europe still presents opportunities for robust growth, the chief of America's biggest jeweler Tiffany & Co. told CNBC.
"The 'Tiffany' brand is significantly underdeveloped in Europe and I'm optimistic about fixing [that] because there are lots of opportunities," Michael Kowalski, the company's chairman and CEO, told "Managing Asia."
New York-based Tiffany operates 292 stores worldwide, with 39 in European markets, compared with 122 shops in the U.S. and 128 in Asia-Pacific.
"In Europe, we are the new kid on the block," Kowalski said even though the company has had a presence on the continent for 25 years. "That gives us great opportunities to take market share. We plan to gradually increase our store presence," the 61-year-old said.
That includes opening its first wholly-owned retail store in Moscow earlier this year, though some industry watchers are questioning the decision as Russia's economy teeters on the edge of recession. This week, the Russian ruble tumbled against the greenback, driven by a slide in oil prices and Western sanctions over its role in the Ukraine crisis.
While the ruble's collapse is worrying, Kowalski is determined to stay for the long haul. Earlier this month, the 177-year-old jewelry giant announced plans for a second store in Russia, which is scheduled to open in early 2015.
"A weakening ruble amid a stronger dollar is something problematic, [but] these are short term political factors. We will go ahead with our plans [as] there's the belief that over the long term, it will make good economic sense," he said. "Russia is an important luxury market where we must have a presence."