JOHANNESBURG – Luxury goods holding company Richemont, founded by South African billionaire Johann Rupert, said on Friday sales in the third quarter ended December 21 increased by 25 percent at actual exchange rates compared to the same period in 2017.

Excluding online sales platform Yoox Net-A-Porter Group (YNAP) and second-hand timepiece dealer Watchfinder.co.uk, sales rose by six percent at actual exchange rates.

It reported growth in most regions, with a double-digit increase in mainland China compensating decreases in the Middle East and Europe.

"With the consolidation of YNAP and Watchfinder regrouped for the first time under the newly created Online Distributors business area, group sales grew by 24 percent," Richemont said.

During the latter part of the quarter, sales in Europe were affected by social unrest in France which negatively impacted tourism and led to store closures for six consecutive Saturday's.

The disposal of Lancel in June also weighed on the year-on-year comparison.

A 10 percent increase in sales in the Asia Pacific reflected double-digit sales growth in mainland China and good increases in other main markets.

Sales growth in Hong Kong slowed, while those in the Americas rose by nine percent, benefitting from a good performance by the Jewellery Maisons and the "other business" area. 

In Japan, a seven percent expansion in sales was driven by continued domestic and tourist spending as well as the impact of newly opened directly operated boutiques.

Unfavourable currency movements and a strong basis of comparison weighed on sales in the Middle East and Africa, which decreased by 13 percent over the period.

Richemont will announce its results for the current financial year on May 17.

Richemont ‘A’ shares are listed on the Swiss Exchange, its primary listing, and are included in the Swiss Market Index of leading stocks. Richemont South African Depository Receipts are listed in Johannesburg, the company's secondary listing.

African News Agency (ANA)