Richemont, the Swiss luxury brands group run by the Rupert family, has taken another step in its aggressive plan to build a formidable retail network. The group has bought UK-based Watchfinder, a pre-owned premium watch specialist that sells online and through boutiques. This follows speculation that Richemont’s decision to restrain its dividend payments and a recent bond issue signalled acquisition plans. At the same time, Richemont — which owns brands like Cartier, Officine Panerai, Piaget Montblanc and Van Cleef and Arpels — has sold its leather goods subsidiary Lancel. Richemont chairman Johann Rupert believed there were substantial opportunities to grow Watchfinder further. “Today, Watchfinder operates both as an online and offline business in a complementary, growing and still relatively unstructured segment of the industry.” Rupert said together with Yoox Net-a-Porter (YNAP) and Richemont’s stake in Dufry, buying Watchfinder was another step in Richemont’s strategy. “It will ...

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