Richemont in sales boost led by China

SWISS luxury goods group Richemont saw healthy sales growth in all business areas in its third quarter as wealthy Chinese customers continued to splash out on Cartier jewellery and timepieces.

Overall sales for the three months to 31 December were up 33 per cent, beating analysts’ forecasts.

Sales in the Asia-Pacific region rose 42 per cent in local currencies, the world’s second largest luxury goods group behind French rival LVMH, Richemont said.

The luxury goods industry has recovered strongly from its worst slump in decades thanks to buoyant demand in Asia.

Richemont chief executive Johann Rupert said yesterday the group’s brands, such as Cartier, Montblanc and Jaeger-LeCoultre, “performed well and saw good sales growth, particularly at the retail level”.

Its sales in the period – which include the key Christmas period sales – rose to €2.12bn (£1.7bn) from €1.56bn a year earlier.

However Richemont warned in a statement: “Higher comparative figures will make the final quarter of the financial year ending 31 March 2011 more challenging.

“Gross margin is anticipated to be negatively affected by a stronger Swiss franc given the group’s Swiss manufacturing base.”

Richemont in November reported an 87 per cent jump in its first half net profit to €664m.

CHINA | A LOVE AFFAIR WITH LUXURY
Burberry completed the acquisition of 50 stores in China last year and its trading updates point to the country as its best up-and-coming market

Rolls Royce sales surged 800% last year – beating all expectations

China and Hong Kong imported 3.8bn Swiss francs (£2.4bn) of Swiss timepieces in the first 11 months of 2010, accounting for a quarter of the European country’s watch exports

Shipment volumes of Cognac to China grew by 54% in 2010