LONDON — The weakening of the dollar and yen against the euro dented sales growth at Compagnie Financière Richemont SA in the third quarter ended Dec. 31.
The company, which released a trading statement Tuesday, said revenues rose 10 percent in the period, but would have climbed 15 percent if exchange rates had remained constant.
The increases were broadly in line with analysts' expectations. The 15 percent sales growth at constant exchange rates was above expectations at Merrill Lynch, which had forecast 12 percent.
Richemont owns luxury brands including Cartier, Mont Blanc, Van Cleef & Arpels, IWC, Panerai Jaeger-LeCoultre, Dunhill, Lancel and Chloé.
Currency issues aside, the company said demand remained strong in key markets such as the Americas and Asia-Pacific, where China contributed significantly to growth.
The Japanese market did not fare as well as other regions, however, and growth in Europe was slower compared with the first half of the year. Retail sales increased by 14 percent, and wholesale sales grew by 7 percent.
All product divisions demonstrated growth: Sales by the specialist watchmakers and writing instrument companies grew 13 percent; those at Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels rose 8 percent, and sales at the leather and accessories houses grew 1 percent. At Chloé, sales increased 60 percent, a slower rate of growth than previous gains, due to tough comparisons with the corresponding period last year.
Dunhill reported double-digit sales in key Asian markets, thanks in part to the integration of retail activities in China. Otherwise, sales were flat in the period. At Lancel, sales grew 3 percent in the quarter.
By region, Asia-Pacific led the pack with growth of 13 percent; sales in the Americas rose 11 percent.
Although the weak dollar may have dented overall sales gains, the company said consumer demand for products remained at "high levels," and Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels delivered "excellent" performances.
In Europe, sales rose 13 percent, thanks to new markets such as Russia. However, in the first six months of the year, sales growth was 18 percent. The company said the slowdown was due to less growth in wholesale sales.In Japan, sales fell 2 percent due to the marked weakening of the yen during December and tough comparisons with the corresponding period last year. However, Richemont said sales at constant exchange rates grew 6 percent.
Also, the company reported "excellent" performances by the specialist watchmakers and Mont Blanc.
A full-year sales statement will be released in early April, and full-year earnings will be reported on May 24.
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