Byline: James Fallon

LONDON — Compagnie Financiere Richemont AG revealed further proof Thursday that it was a luxurious Christmas.
The luxury goods group — which owns brands such as Cartier, Montblanc, Alfred Dunhill, Lancel, Van Cleef & Arpels, Chloe, Baume & Mercier, Piaget, Vacheron Constantin and Officine Panerai — said its sales in the third quarter ended Dec. 31 jumped 21 percent over the same period a year ago.
The figure excludes the acquisition of the watch brands Jaeger Le-Coultre, IWC and A. Lange & Sohne, which was completed last month. Richemont will include these companies in its results from Jan. 1.
Richemont did not reveal actual sales figures for the quarter.
Johann Rupert, Richemont’s chief executive, said in a statement that the 21 percent growth was in line with expectations and came across all the company’s brands. “This increase follows growth of 28 percent in the same period of the previous year, which saw particularly strong sales during the months leading up to the millennium celebrations,” he said.
The strongest performing geographical region was the Far East, where sales leaped 25 percent, followed by Europe, which registered a 20 percent rise in third-quarter sales. Sales in the Americas rose 17 percent. Richemont said that while the region benefited from the strength of the dollar against the euro, it comes against a backdrop of “outstanding” results in the third quarter of 1999.
Jewelry and watches were the star performers, with sales of the former rising 26 percent while watch sales grew 25 percent. Sales through wholly owned stores continued to grow faster than those through wholesale distribution, reflecting the ongoing trend of Richemont’s brands opening more of their own stores.

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