Johann Rupert. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES
Johann Rupert. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES

Johann Rupert’s Richemont, the luxury goods group that owns the Cartier brand, said on Friday sales in Hong Kong contracted by double-digits in its six months to end-September due to protests in the wealthy city.

Group sales rose 9% to €7.39bn (R120bn), less than the €7.46bn expected by analysts polled by Bloomberg. A stronger Hong Kong dollar vs the renminbi, which weighs on tourists spending, also put pressure on the market.

The company said it had, however, seen strong growth in Japan, China and the UK.

Operating profit rose 3% to €1.16bn, also missing expectations, with the company reporting it had seen growth in the Jewellery Maisons.

In September, Richemont completed the acquisition of Italian jewellery brand Buccellati for €230m, though this had not contributed to its results for the period.

Richemont said the acquisition would help it benefit from the long-term potential of the jewellery market, and in October it signed an agreement with fashion designer Alber Elbaz to form a start-up called AZ Fashion.

“We are undertaking a significant transformation to ensure our Maisons and businesses will continue to prosper in a more connected world,¨ Rupert said in the statement.

“Global events are beyond our control and while we have remained responsive to market challenges, we have also continued to invest in our Maisons, reinforcing our long term approach to developing Richemont’s businesses,” he said.

In morning trade Richemont’s share price had slipped 3.61% to R113.26.

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