French luxury group Richemont recorded a staggering 49% increase in sales in China in the first quarter, which failed to offset an overall global sales slump with double-digit sales decline across all major regions.
Total sales fell 47% to $2.27 billion in the first quarter ending 30th June, Richemont announced last week, thanks to a strong impact on sales due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
For the quarter, Richemont said it recorded a double-digit sales decline across all regions, distribution channels and business areas. The company attributed the decline to widespread temporary store and distribution centre closures and a halt in tourism, as
well as subdued consumer sentiment in many markets.
The company went to say that sales in Asia Pacific were “the most resilient,” despite dropping 29%, with the exception of China, which “delivered triple digit online sales growth and very strong domestic retail sales in the absence of overseas purchases from the Chinese clientele from the mainland.”
That compared to Japan, whose sales declined by 64%, as stores were closed for most of the quarter under review.
By channel, online retail sales showed stronger resilience than sales in other channels; excluding online distributors, online sales contributed 8% of group sales, compared to 2% in the prior year period.
Both jewellery maisons — which includes brands Buccellati, Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels — and online distributors — which includes Yoox Net-A-Porter Group and its brands Net-A-Porter, Mr Porter, The Outnet and Yoox — fared better than the other business areas, it added.
The Richemont group also operates several specialist watchmakers, namely A. Lange & Söhne, Baume & Mercier, IWC Schaffhausen, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Panerai, Piaget, Roger Dubuis and Vacheron Constantin, and fashion and accessories maisons, including Alaïa, Chloé, dunhill, Montblanc and Peter Millar.
As of 30th June, all Richemont distribution centres and most stores had reopened, with exceptions in the Americas and travel retail.