Richemont post 16 percent sales gain

Strong demand for expensive watches drove sales at luxury goods maker Richemont 16 percent higher in the April-to-August period, but sales growth was set to slow in coming months, the company reportedly said.

Revenue growth at the world’s second-largest maker of luxury goods outstripped analysts’ expectations of 11.5 percent, according to the average of a Reuters poll of seven analysts, thanks to demand for specialist watches.

The Zurich, Switzerland-based maker of Cartier watches, which has benefited from strong demand for expensive luxury items, said on Sept. 15 that due to tough comparisons, full-year sales growth would be unlikely to match that seen in the first five months, Reuters reports.

Richemont’s financial year runs to the end of March 2006.

“Although we expect to see continuing growth in all our businesses, the higher comparatives make it less likely that the rate of growth in sales for the full year will necessarily match the high levels that we have experienced over the first five months,” it reportedly said.

Richemont did not give absolute sales figures. It will publish first-half earnings in November. It holds its annual general meeting in Geneva later on Thursday.

The company reportedly said sales at constant exchange rates, which strip out foreign-exchange fluctuations, rose 17 percent.

Richemont’s specialist watchmakers, including Vacheron Constantin, IWC, Jaeger-LeCoultre, were among the star performers during the first five months, posting sales growth of 23 percent overall, Reuters reports.

“All of the watch businesses have performed well, their new model ranges finding favour in the market,” Richemont reportedly said.

Product launches, such as the new Tankissime watch for women, drove sales at the group’s venerable Cartier brand, Reuters reports.