Zurich - Luxury goods group Richemont [JSE:CFR], maker of
Cartier jewellery, gave a cautious outlook on Monday after slowing wholesale
demand for its pricey products pushed sales growth in the last quarter below
Sales rose 5% at constant exchange rates in the three months
to end-December to €2.862bn, missing forecasts for a 7.6% rise in a Reuters
poll as the previously booming Asia-Pacific region reported no growth.
"At this stage, it is unclear how business patterns may
develop and how the business in the Asia Pacific region will evolve in the near
future," Richemont said in a statement.
Richemont said the rate of wholesale growth fell in the
quarter to just 2% from 8% in the April to September period due to caution by
retailers in Hong Kong and mainland China and a less favourable environment.
Boutique openings helped maintain retail sales growth at 9%,
from 15% in the first half, while strong jewellery sales also helped.
The maker of IWC and Lange & Soehne watches said sales
growth in the Americas accelerated to 13% from 4% in the first half, with both
retail and wholesale doing well, but sales growth slipped to 9% in Europe from
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