The latest earnings of Swiss-based luxury brands group Richemont, which is controlled by the Stellenbosch-based Rupert family, were significantly boosted by its acquisition of online retailers YOOX Net-a-Porter (YNAP) and Watchfinder. The group, which owns the Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels brands, said YNAP’s contribution was the main reason sales were up 25% to €3.91bn for the third quarter to end-December. The acquisition of YNAP and Watchfinder has been part of Richemont’s move into e-retail, which it sees as key to capturing millennial customers. Prior to the acquisition of YNAP, the group’s online sales only contributed 1% to total sales. Richemont already had a 49% stake in YNAP when it bought out the 51% holding it did not yet own for €2.69bn in March 2018. The contribution of Richemont’s online operation offset somewhat sluggish retail sales, which were only up 7% to €2bn, compare with the surge from €59m to €694m in online sales. The group said its European retail operatio...

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