LONDON — Troubles in Hong Kong damaged sales growth at Compagnie Financière Richemont in the six months to Sept. 30, while profit was broadly flat on an underlying basis.
Sales in the first half were up 9 percent at actual rates, and 6 percent at constant exchange, climbing to 7.40 billion euros. Growth came from all regions, distribution channels and product categories.
As usual, Richemont’s jewelry maisons were the strongest performers while the watch category suffered from the Hong Kong protests and resulting store closures.
The parent of Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels and IWC saw sales grow in the double digits in China, Korea, Japan, the U.S. and the United Kingdom. It described Hong Kong, where often violent pro-democracy and antiextradition protests have been taking place all year, as “difficult.”
In the first quarter, sales climbed 12 percent at actual exchange, while at constant rates, they were up 9 percent.
Reported profit fell 61 percent to 869 million euros due entirely to the nonrecurrence of a 1.39 billion euros gain linked to the acquisition of Yoox Net-a-porter Group in the prior year. Stripping out that factor, profit was flat compared with the prior period.
Operating profit increased by 3 percent to 1.17 million euros, reflecting higher sales and gross profit, which was partly offset by controlled increases in costs, Richemont said.
Richemont’s chairman Johann Rupert noted that geopolitical tensions around the world “have affected customer sentiment,” and added that “global events are beyond our control. While we have remained responsive to market challenges, we have also continued to invest in our maisons, reinforcing our long term approach to developing Richemont’s businesses.”