Richemont hails return of the big spenders

Richemont, the company which owns Cartier watches, Chloe handbags and Montblanc pens, beat its sales forecasts for the Christmas period, adding to signs that shoppers are splashing out again on luxury goods.

Booming sales across Asia and the Pacific, especially in China, led the improvement, with sales in the region rising 25 per cent. Sales in Japan, however, fell 12 per cent.

Group sales rose 2 per cent in the third quarter at actual exchange rates, or 7 per cent when stripping out currency fluctuations, at €1.59bn (£1.4bn). Jewellery sales rose 5 per cent, while watch sales were 3 per cent higher. "The improvement in trading is welcome in the context of a generally difficult economic environment," said the world's second-largest luxury goods player. But it said the figures should be seen in the context of weak comparisons with 2008.

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