GENEVA, Switzerland — Richemont, the maker of Cartier necklaces and IWC Schaffhausen timepieces, reported its fastest holiday sales growth in four years, boosted by demand in Asia.
Revenue gained 7 percent excluding currency shifts in the three months through December, the Geneva-based company said Thursday. Analysts predicted 5.9 percent. Still, wholesale revenue declined as retailers struggled to reduce inventory.
Demand for luxury goods surged last year following a multi-year slowdown driven in part by economic uncertainty and a crackdown on state corruption in China. While the turnaround has sparked competitors like LVMH and Hermes International to invest in new factories for products like high-end handbags and cognac, Richemont has focused on clearing out a glutted market for Swiss timepieces by buying back unsold stock from retailers.
The company, whose full name is Cie. Financiere Richemont SA, doesn’t report profit for its fiscal third quarter. Total revenue amounted to €3.12 billion ($3.7 billion), just ahead of the €3.1 billion estimate.
Revenue in Asia Pacific, which accounted for nearly 40 percent of total sales in the first half, gained 11 percent. Analysts forecast 12 percent for that region.
By Corinne Gretler in Zurich and Robert Williams; editors: Eric Pfanner and Thomas Mulier.