Watch and jewellery sales soar at Richemont

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Q3 update shows double-figure growth for both sectors at luxury group.

Sales at Richemont’s watches and jewellery divisions rose by 20 percent and 21 percent in the three months to December 31 as the luxury group stated it was in a “strong position” in these markets.

The figures were released within a buoyant trading update from Richemont. The Swiss company reported 23 percent growth in total sales to €2.1 billion (£1.8bn), excluding any change in exchange rates. This figure was positively impacted by the group’s acquisition of Net-a-Porter, but excluding sales from the luxury e-tailer the group’s total sales were still up 19 percent.

Richemont’s European sales rose 17 percent in the quarter, from €656 million (£549m) in 2009 to €791 million (£662m) in 2010, with these figures again being positively impacted by the Net-a-Porter acquisition.

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Total sales at Richemont for the nine months to December 31 jumped 25 percent from €3.9 billion (£3.3bn) to €5.6 billion (£4.7bn) at constant exchange rates.

Richemont executive chairman and group chief executive Johann Rupert said sales in December had grown by 17 percent at a constant exchange rate, excluding the impact of Net-a-Porter, but that the final quarter of the year would be at the mercy of higher comparative figures.

Rupert added: “As indicated previously, 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 and by the planned changes to product lines at one of the group’s specialist watchmakers, which will be largely implemented during the coming quarter.”

Richemont is a luxury group that owns a number of watch and jewellery brands including Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Piaget, IWC, Ralph Lauren watches and jewellery and Vacheron Constantin.

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