Richemont Posts Strong Q4 as Jewelry Sales Rebound

FinancialsMay 21, 2021

Richemont Posts Strong Q4 as Jewelry Sales Rebound

The luxury titan’s jewelry sales exceeded pre-COVID levels.

Richemont headquarters in Geneva, designed by architect Jean Nouvel. The luxury titan’s quarterly sales were up 30 percent year-over-year, with jewelry performing especially well. (Image courtesy of Richemont)
Geneva—Richemont ended the fiscal year on a high note, with quarterly sales up double digits and jewelry sales exceeding pre-COVID levels.

Full-year sales were down 8 percent to €13.14 billion ($16.06 billion), compared with €14.24 billion ($17.39 billion) in 2020.

However, fourth-quarter sales were up 30 percent year-over-year at actual exchange rates.

Full-year sales in Richemont’s jewelry division, which includes Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels, rose 3 percent to €7.46 billion ($9.11 billion), compared with €7.22 billion ($8.82 billion) a year ago.

The category saw a 54 percent sales rebound in the fourth quarter.

Jewelry sales saw strong double-digital growth in the second half of the year, surpassing pre-COVID levels by the end of the year, Richemont said, crediting “the enduring appeal of Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, and Buccellati.” 

Retail sales in the segment were strong, with online sales up triple digits for the full year.

The iconic collections continued to perform well, including Clash Supple and Santos for Cartier, Frivole and Perlée for Van Cleef & Arpels, and Opera Tulle for Buccellati.

Meanwhile, full-year sales in Richemont’s specialist watchmakers division sank 21 percent to €2.25 billion ($2.74 billion), compared with €2.86 billion ($3.49 billion) in 2020.

But quarterly sales were up 10 percent year-over-year.

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“Our Specialist Watchmakers division is in a very healthy state,” said Richemont. “The desirability of our maisons has been fueled by the reinforcement of iconic collections with well received new references and our strongest-ever resonance during Watches & Wonders.” 

The division saw double-digit sales in Asia Pacific following the opening of five flagship stores on Alibaba’s luxury e-commerce platform Tmall Luxury Pavilion, including IWC Schaffhausen, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Panerai, Piaget, and Vacheron Constantin.

Participation in Watches & Wonders fairs in Shanghai and Sanya, China also boosted sales while sales to local clientele offset the drop in tourism dollars.

Breaking it down by region, full-year sales in the Americas were down 15 percent to €2.39 billion ($2.92 billion).

Quarterly sales were up 21 percent, bolstered by strong online retail sales, though e-commerce growth could not compensate for declines in other areas.

The Asia-Pacific region saw the strongest growth, up 19 percent for the year while quarterly sales surged 106 percent. Sales growth in mainland China offset declines in locations seeing a halt in tourism, like Hong Kong and South Korea.

Full-year sales in the Middle East and Africa slipped 1 percent, though international tourism began to return in the second half of the year.

In Europe, public health measures and a halt in tourism sent full-year sales down 31 percent. Quarterly sales were down 7 percent.

In Japan, full-year sales were down 22 percent due to the lasting impact of COVID-19 while fourth-quarter sales were up 15 percent as online sales rose.

Retail sales (sales at Richemont-owned and -operated boutiques) slipped 1 percent to €7.25 billion ($8.85 billion) for the full year, compared with €7.34 billion ($8.96 billion) a year ago.

Quarterly retail sales were up 62 percent year-over-year. Sales in Asia Pacific and the Middle East and Africa were especially strong.

Wholesale sales fell 27 percent for the full year to €3.10 billion ($3.79 billion), compared with €4.25 billion ($5.19 billion) a year ago. Quarterly sales were up 1 percent.

Online retail sales were up 6 percent to €2.79 billion ($3.41 billion), compared with €2.65 billion ($3.23 billion) a year ago. Sales were up 22 percent in the fourth quarter.

Richemont did not provide financial guidance for the year ahead.
Lenore Fedowis the associate editor, news at National Jeweler, covering the retail beat and the business side of jewelry.

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