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Luxury conglomerate Richemont reported a double-digit decline in sales across all businesses in the first quarter ending June 30, with its jewellery arm recording a 41 per cent loss as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Overall sales for the quarter dipped by 47 per cent year on year due to widespread temporary store and distribution centre closures, a tourism standstill and subdued consumer sentiment in many markets.
“Sales contracted significantly across all regions, channels and business areas, notwithstanding a 49 per cent increase in China,” the company said.
Business disruption was less pronounced in the Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific, with the latter benefiting from a recovery in the China market. Online retail sales meanwhile showed stronger resilience, according to Richemont. Excluding online distributors, online sales contributed 8 per cent of group sales compared to 2 per cent last year.
The decline in the group’s jewellery business reflected lower sales across all product lines and regions, with Asia Pacific recording a slower rate of decrease than average. In China, sales rose 68 per cent, driven by increased online and offline retail spend and the recent opening of a Cartier flagship store on Tmall Luxury Pavilion.
Sales at the specialist watchmakers meanwhile fell by 56 per cent due to macroeconomic uncertainties, accentuated by a strong reliance on multi-brand retail partners, a comparatively low exposure to China and low online retail penetration worldwide.
Richemont owns luxury jewellery houses Buccellati, Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels; and specialist watchmakers A. Lange & Söhne, Baume & Mercier, IWC Schaffhausen, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Panerai, Piaget, Roger Dubuis and Vacheron Constantin.