By  on January 17, 2011

LONDON — Compagnie Financière Richemont SA reported a 33 percent rise inthird-quarter revenues to 2.11 billion euros, or $2.87 billion, from1.59 billion euros, or $2.36 billion, in the same period last year.

Theupswing in sales for the three months ended Dec. 31 was thanks toparticularly high growth in the Asia-Pacific region, Richemont said, andthe impact of strong sales at Net-A-Porter, which Richemont acquiredlast year. Stripping out currency fluctuations, sales for thethree-month period grew 23 percent, while excluding the acquisition ofNet-A-Porter, sales grew 19 percent.

“Richemont’s maisonsperformed well and saw good sales growth, particularly at the retaillevel, during the three-month period,” said Johann Rupert, executivechairman and group chief executive officer at Richemont.

Rupertadded that in the month of December, sales grew by 17 percent atconstant exchange rates, excluding the impact of the Net-A-Porteracquisition. Retail sales grew 43 percent at actual exchange ratesduring the period, to 1.07 billion euros, or $1.45 billion.

Interms of categories, sales at Richemont’s jewelry brands, which includeCartier and Van Cleef & Arpels, rose by 30 percent at actualexchange rates to 1.09 billion euros, or $1.48 billion, while sales forRichemont’s fashion brands, which include Alfred Dunhill, Chloé and nowNet-A-Porter, rose 75 percent during the period to 260 million euros, or$353.6 million.

Asia-Pacific was the region that saw thestrongest growth, with sales rising 57 percent at actual exchange ratesto 772 million euros, or $1.05 billion, which Richemont said reflected“a continuation of the house’s expansion in that fast-growing region.”

Salesin Europe grew 20 percent at actual exchange rates, while sales in theAmericas rose 27 percent. The impact of Net-A-Porter helped boost salesin both Europe and the Americas, Richemont said.

All dollarfigures have been calculated at average exchange rates for thethree-month period.

Luca Solca, senior research analyst atSanford C Bernstein, described the results as “a punchy third-quartertrading update…supported by strong momentum across geographies andbusinesses and favorable exchange rates.”

Meanwhile, ThomasChauvet, senior equity analyst at Citigroup, said he believed that“Richemont captures the attributes of a good, long-term growth story,”which he attributed to “Significant [emerging market] exposure, apremium brand portfolio and clear distribution strategy, alongsideincreased cost discipline, good cash-flow generation and a strongbalance sheet.”

Still, Rupert said he was cautious about thecompany’s fourth quarter, which ends March 31.

“As indicatedpreviously, higher comparative figures will make the final quarter ofthe financial year…more challenging,” he noted. “Gross margin isanticipated to be negatively affected by a stronger Swiss franc, giventhe group’s Swiss manufacturing base, and the planned changes to productlines at one of the group’s specialist watchmakers, which will belargely implemented during the coming quarter.”

Following theupdate Monday, Richemont’s shares closed down 2 percent on the Swissstock exchange, at 55.45 Swiss francs, or $57.52, a share. Richemont isslated to announce its full-year results May 19. 

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