By  on April 25, 2007

LONDON — Sales at luxury goods group Compagnie Financière Richemont SA rose 12 percent last year to 4.83 billion euros, or $6.2 billion, from 4.31 billion euros, or $5.25 billion, on the back of strong demand in every geographic region except Japan.

The company, whose brand portfolio includes Cartier, Alfred Dunhill, Chloé, Montblanc, Jaeger-LeCoultre and Piaget, released a trading statement Tuesday, and will release full sales and profit figures for the 2007 fiscal year on May 24.

A Richemont spokesman declined to elaborate on Tuesday's statement due to the company's blackout period, which lasts until the full results are released. All figures have been converted from the euro at average exchange rates for the respective periods.

Richemont said sales growth in the full year, which ended March 31, was dented only by exchange rate conversions, and the relative weakness of the dollar and yen.

At constant exchange rates, total sales would have risen 16 percent, and the company would have reported double-digit sales growth in every product category.

Cartier, the main sales engine in Richemont's jewelry category, posted double-digit growth in all regions except Japan, where it saw modest growth. The company added that Van Cleef & Arpels also enjoyed "very good growth."

Dunhill reported double-digit sales growth in the Asia-Pacific region, although sales were flat in Japan. Lancel posted double-digit growth, due to the launch of products, the company said. Chloé continued to perform well, with growth of 50 percent in the period, thanks in large part to a beefed-up retail network.

Sales in Europe, which represents 42 percent of Richemont's total, rose 13 percent due in part to the success of Montblanc and specialist watchmakers such as Panerai and A. Lange & Sohne.

Revenue growth in the Asia-Pacific region rose 19 percent at actual rates, thanks to the expanded retail distribution networks of Dunhill and Montblanc in China. Sales in the Americas grew 12 percent in the period at actual exchange rates. At constant rates, sales in the Americas would have risen 18 percent.

Japan, which generates 15 percent of group sales, reported 10 percent revenue growth at constant exchange rates, which shrunk to 1 percent at actual rates.

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