Richemont annual jewellery sales jump 13%

Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels generate "remarkable results".

Jewellery sales at Richemont Group jumped 13% in year ended March 31 2013, with the Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels generating "remarkable results" for the group.

Richemont’s latest annual statement was released today, with jewellery sales for the year totalling €5.2 billion (£4.4bn), up 13% year-on-year.

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Richemont’s jewellery brand boutique network – which includes Cartier, Piaget and Van Cleef & Arpels – reported "good growth", benefitting from further openings in the year. The group said demand for jewellery was particularly strong.

The increase in jewellery sales and positive gross margin development generated an operating margin of 35%.

Montblanc sales, which are recorded separately from the group’s other jewellery brands, were up 6% in the year to March 31, totalling €766 million (£648m), though this was primarily driven by its watch sales.

Richemont Group chairman Johann Rupert said: "The jewellery maisons and the specialist watchmakers have reported remarkable growth in sales and profits, despite the continuing strength of the Swiss franc and historically high cost of precious metals and stones.

"Montblanc and the fashion and accessories maisons grew in the mid-single digits, reflecting challenging conditions in their major markets."

In Europe the group’s sales were up 14% to a total €3.6 billion (£3bn) for the year at constant exchange rates, accounting for 36% of the group’s overall sales.

Richemont said the region enjoyed good growth, largely due to demand from tourists. Accordingly, the highest growth rates were in the maisons’ own boutiques in tourist destinations, including the Middle East.

The Asia-Pacific region remains its strongest market for the group, with sales totalling €4.1 billion (£3.5 billion), up 5% year-on-year at constant exchange rates.

Sales in the Asia Pacific region accounted for 41% of Richemont’s total, with Hong Kong and mainland China the two largest markets. The rate during the year under review moderated following two years of exceptionally high rates of growth.

The lower rate was more pronounced in the H2 of the year under review.However, sales growth in Richemont’s own brand boutiques was higher than sales growth to wholesale partners, reflecting the expansion of the boutique network during the last two years.

Looking ahead, Rupert added: "The enduring appeal of our maisons and their growth potential lead us to look forward to the future with a degree of optimism. Therefore our investments will continue to focus on the differentiation of our maisons, the expansion and integration of their respective manufacturing facilities, and the adaption of their distribution strategies to the constantly changing customer environment in growth markets and tourist destinations."

Rupert also announced that he plans to take a 12-month sabbatical following the 25th annual general meeting in September and said that during his absence deputy chairman Yves-André Istel will chair meetings of the board of directors.



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