Johann Rupert’s Richemont, the luxury goods group that was initially cautious about e-commerce, has seen online businesses YOOX Net-a-Porter (YNAP) and Watchfinder giving its earnings a handy boost. The Swiss-based group, which owns, among others, 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 contribution of Richemont’s online operation offset a somewhat sluggish retail operation whose sales rose a modest 7% to €2bn. Sales for its wholesale operations only increased 1% to €1.1bn.

By comparison, online sales surged from €59m to €694m. Prior to the acquisition of YNAP, the group’s online sales contributed only 1% to total sales, but now make up close to 18%. The success of its online retail operation has been a long time coming. Though Richemont had been looking to expand its e-commerce operations for a while, luxury brands have generally been cautions when it comes...

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