Richemont lifted by the super-rich

Expensive watches and jewellery such as the $20,000 (£13,000) Altiplano watch have helped the Swiss luxury goods group Richemont bring in sales of €2.6bn (£2.2bn) in the last quarter.

The luxury goods sector remains one of the strongest globally as the super wealthy keep spending in the face of wider economic turmoil.

Sales for the three months to the end of December were up by 24 per cent from €2.11bn on a year earlier, beating analysts' expectations.

Johann Rupert, the executive chairman and group chief executive officer, said: "The group's overall performance remains solid. Operating profit for the full year will be significantly higher than last year."

Richemont, which owns some of the biggest jewellery and watch brands including Cartier, Jaeger-LeCoultre and Piaget, said growth was solid across all regions, with Asia-Pacific the strongest.

Sales growth in Europe benefited from what experts have dubbed TLC, the "travelling luxury consumer".

Its online designer outlet also performed well.

However, some experts have pointed to a slowdown in growth as a sign that the sparkle of the sector could begin to tarnish.

Mr Rupert said: "As expected, the slowdown in sales growth relative to the first six months of the year reflects the volatile and challenging economic environment."