Richemont improved watch sales in its own stores helped luxury goods, the swiss company said Thursday; sales during the last three months of 2016 increased 6% from the previous year, offering hope that the battered luxury goods sector may have turned a corner.
The increase was driven by its jewelry unit, offsetting a slight drop in specialty watch sales. Geneva-based Richemont said sales increased to €3.09 billion in the three months to December 31, from €2.93 billion a year earlier.
Revenue exceeded the analyst consensus of €2.96 billion, with sales in Europe, Asia and the Americas all posting solid growth. The results in Asia were driven by strong growth in mainland China and Korea, Richemont said, which offset declines in Hong Kong and Macau.
Richemont’s total retail sales rose 12%. Wholesale revenue dropped 3%, compared with a 20% decline in the first half.
"The 10 percent growth in sales in the Asia Pacific region reflected strong performances in mainland China and Korea, mitigated by continued declines in Hong Kong and Macau," the Geneva-based maker of IWC watches and Cartier jewellery said in a statement on Thursday.
The Swiss luxury watch industry was pummeled last year by falling exports, weakness in China and Hong Kong and lower tourism in key luxury shopping centers such as Paris.
Richemont responded last year by buying back unsold watches, particularly Cartier, and eliminated the position of chief executive in a management shake-up.
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