Fourth Quarter Boosts Richemont Sales and Annual Profit Up 38%
LONDON – A strong performance in the fourth quarter helped support the annual sales of Compagnie Financière Richemont, which fell 8% at reported rate and 5% at constant rate, to 13.14 billion euros.
The parent company of brands such as Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels and Dunhill said fourth-quarter sales increased 30% at actual rates and 36% at constant rates, due to strong demand in Asia-Pacific, and especially in mainland China, which saw triple-digit growth in the three months leading up to March 31.
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Annual profit rose 38% to 1.29 billion euros.
In a year ravaged by COVID-19, digital sales have also climbed to triple digits and now represent 21% of the Richemont group’s sales.
The company said it sees a “good start” to the new fiscal year “with accelerating trends in all areas of business.”
Despite the recovery in performance, Richemont chairman, founder and core shareholder Johann Rupert issued a typical note of caution.
He said that although the pace of vaccination has picked up, “volatility and low visibility will likely prevail until the herd becomes immune. There are still worrying developments of COVID-19 in parts of the world that could slow a global recovery, even as underlying demand looks strong with supporting actions from the central bank, substantial government stimulus packages and real estate and stock markets at unprecedented levels. “
Rupert warned the world “will have to learn to live with the virus probably much longer than we had hoped,” and said Richemont’s goal will remain to “protect our colleagues, partners and assets while maintaining the agility and flexibility to deal with uncertainties. We will also continue to take decisive action to transform our business with a focus on digital initiatives, customer focus and building strategic partnerships. “
Over the past year, Richemont has established cooperation agreements and historic partnerships in the digital and ESG space with companies such as Alibaba, LVMH Moët Hennessy, Louis Vuitton and Bulgari.
Rupert also paid tribute to Alber Elbaz, who died in April. Richemont had entered into a joint venture with the late designer that had been launched months before Elbaz died from complications from COVID-19.
“Alber was incredibly sensitive and caring and, in addition to his genuine empathy, possessed a great deal of wit, talent and creativity. Her dream of “smart fashion that cares” was inclusive, positive and innovative. He will be sadly missed by all of us who were fortunate enough to know him or work with him, ”said Rupert.
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