Luxury giant Richemont says sales up despite China dip

Swiss luxury giant Richemont, which counts Cartier and Piaget among its brands, said Friday sales rose 20 percent in its first fiscal quarter despite a drop in demand in Asia-Pacific.

Global sales in the period April to June topped 5.2 billion euros (dollars), the group said in a statement, even as China rolled out fresh lockdowns in a bid to contain Covid cases.

The group said it profited from strong demand for luxury goods in the Americas, the Middle East and Europe.

“All channels and business areas, as well as most regions, generated sales growth versus the prior year period, notwithstanding an uncertain environment and demanding comparatives,” Richemont said.

Sales in Europe grew 43 percent at actual exchange rates, thanks in part to a return in tourist spending, primarily by American and Middle Eastern clients.

Sales rose 18 percent in the Middle East, 41 percent in the Americas and 75 percent in Japan.

This strong demand offset the decline in China, where strict Covid-19 restriction led to the closure of Richemont’s boutiques and weighed on sales in both Hong Kong and Macau, the group said.

Richemont did not give a figure for the drop in China at actual rates, but said that at constant rates sales were 37 percent lower.

On Thursday, Swatch — the world’s biggest watchmaker and owner of the Omega, Longines and Tissot brands — said lockdowns in China had cut its first-half 2022 sales by 400 million Swiss francs ($408 million).