US economy

Richemont sales jump shows luxury revival



© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: High-end jewellery is displayed at a Cartier store on Place Vendome in Paris, France, July 2, 2019. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau/File Photo

ZURICH (Reuters) -Cartier owner Richemont said strong demand for its jewellery and watches in the Americas and Europe helped sales rise by nearly a third in the quarter to Dec. 31, the world’s second largest luxury group said on Wednesday.

Sales rose to 5.658 billion euros ($6.41 billion) in the company’s third quarter, a 32% increase when currency swings were removed. The performance was 38% better than the 2019 Christmas quarter before the pandemic hit, Richemont said in a statement.

High-end watch sales recovered last year, with Swiss watch exports slightly above 2019 levels at the end of November, while Richemont also benefits from its exposure to the faster growing jewellery category.

Sales at jewellery brands Cartier, Buccellati and Van Cleef & Arpels were up 38%, while specialist watchmaker sales, including IWC and Vacheron Constantin, rose 25%, versus the year-ago period, Richemont said.

The Americas posted the strongest growth of 55%, followed by Europe with 42%, while China, which had already recovered the previous year, only saw 7% growth, Richemont said.

Kepler Cheuvreux analyst Jon Cox said it was “a very strong set of figures across the board, led by its peerless jewellery business”, also highlighting growth in Europe “given it has lagged the recovery in other areas”.

“I would expect the stock to react positively,” he said.

Earlier this week, Italian fashion group Prada posted a 41% rise in constant currency sales for 2021 thanks to pent-up demand for luxury handbags and clothes.

Peer LVMH (PA:), owner of the Bulgari and Tiffany jewellery brands, is due to post full-year results on Jan 27. Swatch Group (SIX:) results are also expected around that date.

($1 = 0.8828 euros)

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