Richemont warns of luxury slowdown in China as third quarter sales miss estimates

Richemont owns the Cartier and Montblanc luxury brands

Laura Chesters
Thursday 16 January 2014 12:45
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Luxury giant Richemont has raised fears that China is still a source of concern for the sector after its third quarter sales missed expectations.

Sales were up 3 per cent to €2.94 billion but demand for its expensive watches in China waned. The Swiss group’s figures are in contrast to luxury fashion brand Burberry which yesterday reported a rise in sales growth in the region.

The group, which also owns online retailer Net-a-Porter.com and clothing brands including Chloé, reported organic sales up 9 per cent compared to analysts expecting a 12 per cent rise.

Richemont said wholesalers, particularly in the Asian-Pacific region, were cautious.

The group’s watches and jewellery have been hit by a Chinese crackdown on alleged gif giving and bribes at a government level. A number of luxury brands have been hit by the change.

Allegra Perry, luxury goods analyst at Cantor Fitzgerald, said that despite it being a year on since the “implementation of anti-gifting measures in fall 2012” and the “potential uplift from the earlier timing of Chinese New Year” Richemont’s Chinese sales growth was still weak.

She added: “We believe Richemont is well positioned with Cartier in the high growth and highly fragmented jewellery segment but we believe high-end watches in China remain under pressure.”

Swiss watch exports to China were down 15 per cent for the eleven months to November.

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