Richemont drops 8% in 3rd Qtr. Sales; Americas down 13%

Richemont, the giant Swiss luxury goods group, posted an 8% drop in sales for its third quarter, ending Dec. 31, according to a company report issued Jan. 24.

Sales in North and South America did recover from “the depressed levels [of] September and October,” says the company report, but “for the quarter as a whole [sales] were still some 13% below the year’s levels.”

Sales in Asia, including Japan, were down 5%. While sales in the Japanese market grew in terms of local currency, noted the report, they were “adversely impacted [by the] translation into the Euro by the weakness of the yen.”

The Group’s wholesale sales fell 9% for the quarter and retail sales dropped 7%. However, improvement in retail sales was apparent over the quarter, and December sales were only 2% below the previous year’s level.

Johann Rupert, Group chief executive, said that the sales were “somewhat better than we had anticipated, given the depressed economic and political climate which prevailed during the period.” He said that the Group’s strong sales the previous year had created “a high hurdle,” and that he was “reasonably content” with Richemont’s performance “at this difficult time.”

Richemont’s 18 brands include (in jewelry and watches) Cartier, Piaget, Van Cleef & Arpels, Dunhill and Montblanc, and the prestigious watch manufacturers Baume & Mercier, IWC, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Piaget, A. Lange & Sohne, Officine Panerai and Vacheron Constantin.