Cartier owner Richemont returns to form as UK luxury sales pick up

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Cartier was a top performer in the dominant jewellery division (Source: Getty)

Luxury powerhouse Richemont saw double-digit growth in the UK during the six months to 30 September, helping the company to record a 10 per cent jump in sales.

The Swiss company owns jewellery brands such as Cartier, several specialist watch brands and the fashion designers Chloe and Azzedine Alaia.

The figures

Richemont managed to achieve growth in all segments, regions and distribution channels, increasing overall sales by 10 per cent to €5.6bn (£4.96bn).

It also increased its margin to 65.4 per cent, up from 63.5 per cent this time last year. Operating profit was up 46 per cent to €1.1bn.

Why it's interesting

Richemont is one of the biggest players in a luxury industry that is quickly consolidating, with buyouts like that of Jimmy Choo by Michael Kors and more recently Belstaff by Ineos. 

It is a return to form for the company, which experienced a drop in profits last year as a result of what it said was a volatile luxury market.

It has now seen growth across all segments. Its jewellery division remains the biggest source of income and was also the fastest-growing, with sales up 15 per cent in the period to €3.1bn. Sales through specialist watchmakers grew six per cent to €1.5bn.

In the UK, the group said it had achieved double-digit growth, making the region a standout performer in Europe. This echoes sentiment from Selfridges last month, which said a luxury tourism boom in London had helped to deliver double-digit sales growth.

But sales growth of three per cent at constant exchange rates in Europe was dwarfed by a 25 per cent jump in the Asia Pacific region, as demand soared in mainland China, Hong Kong, Korea and Macau.

Richemont also announced today that it would elevate former Montblanc CEO and Richemont veteran Jerome Lambert to the role of chief operating officer. He is expected to bring a firm hand to the group's watchmaking business in particular after its boss defected to competitor Breitling.

Read more: Jimmy Choo's profits rocket ahead of £900m takeover by Michael Kors

What Richemont said

Chairman Johann Rupert said: 

The positive sales and profit performance achieved by Richemont in the first half of this financial year highlights the generally improved macro environment. The Group also benefited from easier comparative figures and favourable movements in period-end exchange rates.

Read more: Jim Ratcliffe's Ineos is making a move into the fashion world