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Young bidders throw Sotheby’s a lifeline as it is forced to swallow £600m drop in revenue for year to date

The Geneva sale was the last in the spring jewellery sales and followed successful auctions in New York and Hong Kong.

Sotheby’s financial report for the first seven months of 2020 has revealed that the auctioneer’s total sales fell by a quarter compared to the same period in 2019.

The company suffered an $800m (£614m) drop in revenue, from $3.3 billion (£2.53 billion) to $2.5 billion (£1.92 billion).

Sotheby’s opted to release results from 1 January to 31 July rather than the usual six-month period to accommodate rescheduled spring sales.

Despite the dramatic fall in revenue, the performance is not as devastating as the company forecast at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a statement, the company reported that strong sales in certain areas had boosted its overall takings, helping it avoid catastophe.

Younger bidders, in particular, boosted the company’s takings, with over-40s now making up around 30% of its customer base.

As reported by other auctioneers and retailers, online sales also saw increased interest during lockdown.

Furthermore, Sotheby’s told of strong performance in the Asian market.

CEO Charles Stewart commented: “The art and luxury markets have proven to be incredibly resilient, and demand for quality across categories is unabated. Although driven by necessity, it’s clear that our clients’ interest and confidence in technology has fundamentally changed.”

Last year Sotheby’s announced its decision to return to a private ownership. Read more below:

Sotheby’s to return to private ownership in a £3bn deal


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