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Luxury giant Richemont says sales up despite China dip

ZURICH (AFP) – Swiss luxury giant Richemont, which counts Cartier and Piaget among its brands, said yesterday sales rose 20 per cent in its first fiscal quarter despite a drop in demand in Asia-Pacific.

Global sales in the period April to June topped EUR5.2 billion, the group said in a statement, even as China rolled out fresh lockdowns in a bid to contain COVID cases.

The group said it profited from strong demand for luxury goods in the Americas, the Middle East and Europe.

“All channels and business areas, as well as most regions, generated sales growth versus the prior year period, notwithstanding an uncertain environment and demanding comparatives,” Richemont said.

Sales in Europe grew 43 per cent at actual exchange rates, thanks in part to a return in tourist spending, primarily by American and Middle Eastern clients.

Sales rose 18 per cent in the Middle East, 41 per cent in the Americas and 75 per cent in Japan. This strong demand offset the decline in China, where strict COVID-19 restriction led to the closure of Richemont’s boutiques and weighed on sales in both Hong Kong and Macau, the group said.

Richemont did not give a figure for the drop in China at actual rates, but said that at constant rates sales were 37 per cent lower.

On Thursday, Swatch – the world’s biggest watchmaker and owner of the Omega, Longines and Tissot brands – said lockdowns in China had cut its first-half 2022 sales by CHF400 million (USD408 million).

Customers exit a Cartier luxury jewelle:ry store in New York in December 2021. PHOTO:BLOOMBERG