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Richemont watchmakers in a “very healthy state” despite 21% annual drop in sales

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Richemont says its Specialist Watchmakers division is in a “very healthy state” as it announces its financial results for the full year ending March 31.

The pandemic-affected year saw sales across the entire luxury group drop by 8% from €14.2 billion to €13.1 billion, but profit for the year increased by 38% to €1.3 billion

Sales in Europe, down 30%, were the most severely impacted by the pandemic, due to travel restrictions, curfews and the temporary closures of stores as well as a number of distribution centres in the first quarter of the financial year.

The region also suffered from a halt in tourism, which was partially mitigated by increased spending from domestic clientele, Richemont reports.

Richemont’s Specialist Watchmakers division, which includes Cartier, IWC, Jaeger-LeCoultre and Panerai, saw a drop in sales of 21% over the year.

The first six months of the financial year, from April to September, 2020, were worst affected with a drop in sales of 38%.

Richemont says this was followed by a marked improvement in the second half of the year, with sales up 10% year-on-year in the final quarter of the year, thanks mainly to mainland China, where sales more than doubled.

Almost three quarters of Specialist Watchmakers sales are now through internal and franchise stores.

Stock with multi-brand watch retail partners ended lower than a year ago, with sell-out greater than sell-in for the fourth consecutive year.

More accurate matching of supply to demand means fewer watches leaking onto the grey market, which had been eroding resale prices and damaging brand equity.

Watchfinder has deepened its collaboration with Richemont’s watch brands, with a part exchange programme, which feeds trade-in watches to the pre-owned operation, has now rolled out in more than 80 monobrand boutiques.

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