Inside the Cartier boutique in Harrods

LONDON – A strong performance in Asia Pacific boosted full-year sales at Compagnie Financière Richemont by 3.1 percent to 10.98 billion euros, while net profit remained broadly flat in the 12-month period at 1.22 billion euros.

At constant exchange, sales were up 8 percent in fiscal 2017-2018, and stripping out the impact of watch buybacks, they rose 7 percent at constant exchange rates. Operating profit climbed 4.5 percent to 1.84 billion euros. The company said its net profit suffered in the period from one-off items.

Johann Rupert, the company’s chairman, founder and shareholder of reference, said an improved macroeconomic environment, steady progress on Richemont’s transformation agenda and a mixed currency environment marked the year under review.

Sales growth was driven by high single-digit growth in retail and double-digit growth in Asia Pacific, with particular strength in Richemont’s main markets, namely China, Hong Kong, South Korea and Macau, he said. Strong overall retail performance reflected solid jewelry and watch sales, he added.

Rupert said jewelry continued to perform strongly, while watches benefited from easier comparatives and the successful relaunch of Cartier’s Panthère line, while Richemont’s specialist watchmakers continued to focus on “optimizing their distribution network and adapting their structures accordingly.”

He said that Richemont’s approach to the gray market remains “uncompromising. Over the period, we implemented further inventory buybacks and strengthened the approach to managing sell-in versus sell-out at our multi-brand retail partners.”

Rupert also paid tribute to his friend Azzedine Alaïa, who died suddenly last November. “We have lost a dear friend and colleague, and the industry has lost an exceptional talent. A source of inspiration to many, he has left an enduring creative legacy,” Rupert said.

Richemont owns the Alaïa brand, which continues to operate without its founder.

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