Richemont has announced its trading statement for Q3 2012, ending December 31, with sales increasing 5% during the quarter and watch sales up 9% compared to 2011.
Richemont’s retail channel outperformed its wholesale channels, however its watch wholesale was described as “relatively weak” due to a cautious approach by the group’s retail partners in the watch industry.
Figures show Richemont’s watch sales totalled €784 million (£657m) in the third quarter, up 9% at constant exchange rates compared to Q3 2011. Richemont said its watch brands – which include Jaeger-LeCoultre, IWC, Vacheron Constantin and Piaget – performed well in the period, with retail sales through the brands’ own boutiques the principal driver of growth.
The overall increase of 9% reflects “good double-digit growth in most cases”, although sales were lower for brands focused on the Asia Pacific region, which had the strongest comparatives in the comparative period.
Its Montblanc sales were in line with the comparative period, with retail sales growth offsetting a decrease in sales to retail partners.
In Europe, the group’s Q3 performance was said to be satisfactory, remaining level with Q3 2011, though retail sales eased compared to H1 2012.
In China, Richemont sales fell flat compared to Q3 2011, with wholesale sales growth lower than in the first six months due to a similarly cautious approach taken by the group’s retail partners in Hong Kong and mainland China.
However, Richemont said that branded boutique openings contributed to the positive trend in retail sales in the Asia Pacific region. Sales growth in the Americas region improved further, with both retail and wholesale channels reporting solid.
Retail sales growth slowed compared to the 15% growth rate seen in the six months to September. Wholesale sales also slowed compared to the 8% rate of the first six months.
The weakening of the euro against the dollar is said to have had a particularly positive impact on the group’s reported sales.
The Group’s net cash position at 31 December 2012 amounted to some €3.0 billion (£2.5bn) compared to €2.9 billion in 2011.