By  on January 27, 2006

LONDON — A stronger dollar coupled with product launches and store openings boosted sales at Compagnie Financière Richemont SA by 16 percent in the third quarter.

Nearly every product category and geographical region showed double-digit growth in the period ended Dec. 31, the company said in a statement Thursday.

Sales at the jewelry houses, which include Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels, rose 15 percent, while sales at the specialist watchmakers, including Vacheron Constantin and IWC, increased 19 percent. The statement said the launch of Cartier's Caresse d'orchidées high-end jewelry line, and the opening of a flagship in Tokyo's Aoyama district, helped boost sales. It added that last year's 250th anniversary celebrations for Vacheron Constantin also fueled sales in the quarter.

Richemont's writing instrument manufacturers, the largest of which is Montblanc, generated sales growth of 18 percent, while sales at the leather and accessories maisons grew 13 percent. Alfred Dunhill reported double-digit sales growth, thanks chiefly to good trading results in key Asian markets, while Lancel reported a 7 percent growth in France, its key European market.

Sales at Chloé more than doubled during the period, continuing the trend that began earlier in the fiscal year. Richemont said sales in its "other businesses" division would have grown some 62 percent overall had it not been for the sale of Hackett, the casual men's wear company, in June 2005.

By region, sales in both the Americas and Asia-Pacific increased 26 percent, followed by sales in Japan, which grew 14 percent, and those in Europe, which saw 9 percent growth. The company said sales in the Americas were driven by all product categories, as well as Alfred Dunhill. The statement said Panerai's growth was "particularly impressive," due, in part, to the performance of the new Los Angeles boutique, which opened in May.

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