Cartier-owner Richemont narrows sales decline but trade environment 'challenging'

The luxury goods sector has been hit by the crackdown on lavish spending by government officials in China

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The slump in Chinese luxury goods sales may have passed its peak, according to Cartier owner Richemont.

The Swiss group said sales fell 4 per cent in China in the first half, compared with a double digit dip last year, as the weaker sales in Asia were offset by demand for its jewellery in the US, and to some extent Europe.

The Montblanc to Net-a-Porter group reported operating profit down 4 per cent to €1.31 billion (£830 million) for the six months to the end of September as currency fluctuations hit. But sales reached €5.43 billion – 1 per cent ahead of analyst expectations.

 

Luxury expert Luca Solca at Exane BNP Paribas said: “Richemont’s results confirm a difficult demand environment for luxury goods, and a likely low key end to a soft 2014 for the industry.”

The groups’ jewellery sales were particularly strong – growing more than 10 per cent – against a fall in watch sales. The luxury goods sector has been hit by the crackdown on lavish spending by government officials in China with sales of expensive watches and high end spirits suffering the most.

A tourist spending slowdown caused by conflict and unrest in Ukraine, Hong Kong and the Middle East has also weighed on the sector.

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