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Richemont posts solid watch and jewellery sales for its full year

[ZURICH] Luxury goods group Richemont said sales of its watches and jewellery both grew by 10 per cent in the year to the end of March, with the Americas and Asia performing well.

Swiss watch export figures showed sluggish shipments to top markets Hong Kong and the United States so far this year, a trend also visible at luxury peer Kering that recorded slowing US growth for its Gucci brand in the first quarter.

Net profit at Richemont more than doubled to 2.79 billion euros (S$4.29 billion) for the full year, primarily due to an extraordinary gain of 1.38 billion euros linked to its Yoox Net-A-Porter Group (YNAP) acquisition.

Sales rose 27 per cent including recently acquired online distributors YNAP and Watchfinder, and 8 per cent excluding them. They reached 13.99 billion euros in 2018/2019.

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Growth was once again driven by jewellery brands Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels, but watch brands, including IWC and Jaeger LeCoultre, also posted better growth than in recent quarters.

In terms of product categories, watches and jewellery both grew 10 per cent, excluding online distributors, Richemont said.

Last year, Richemont acquired online distributors YNAP and second-hand specialist Watchfinder, whose figures it has consolidated since May 1 and June 1 2018 respectively.

In October, it also formed a joint venture with China's online retail giant Alibaba to launch a luxury retail platform for Chinese consumers. It said discussions with Alibaba were progressing, but did not give further details.