Van Cleef & Arpels store, New York
Richemont named Nicolas Bos, who currently heads up Van Cleef & Arpels, as group CEO / Image source: Adobe
  • Record annual sales
  • Asia Pacific slowdown hits Q4 revenues
  • Nicolas Bos named as CEO

Sales at Swiss luxury watches-to-jewellery retailer Compagnie Financière Richemont (CFR:SWX), typically known as Richemont, slowed in the fourth quarter of the year to March 2024 amid softening demand for high-end goods in the Asia Pacific region.

However, shares in the Cartier-to-Montblanc owner rose 5% to 144 Swiss francs as record annual sales highlighted Richemont’s resilience and investors welcomed the appointment of Nicolas Bos, CEO of Van Cleef & Arpels, to the re-established role of group CEO.

This role has been vacant for over a decade, so investors are clearly hoping Bos can introduce some extra growth sparkle at Richemont despite a stiff headwind from slowing sales across the luxury industry.

Q4 SLOWDOWN

Annual sales ticked up 3% at actual exchange rates to €20.6 billion (£17.7 billion) at Richemont, an all-time high for the jewellery, watches and leather goods giant despite the well-documented slowdown in spending on luxury goods.

But fourth quarter sales slipped 1% to €4.8 billion at reported rates amid a slowdown in Asia Pacific, while full year operating profit declined by 5% to €4.8 billion after adverse currency swings.

JEWELLERY BRANDS SHINE

Once again, Richemont’s growth was driven by its jewellery maisons, which include Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels, with divisional sales up 6% to €14.2 billion euros reflecting growth across all regions and in both the retail and wholesale channels.

Chairman Johann Rupert described Richemont’s results as ‘solid’, probably a fair characterisation in the context of unfavourable foreign exchange movements and ongoing macroeconomic and geopolitical uncertainty.

‘We experienced a softening of sales in the fourth quarter in Asia Pacific against challenging comparatives, which was more than offset by higher growth in all the other regions,’ explained Rupert. ‘As we predicted, a sustainable rebound in Chinese demand would take some time.’

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MEET THE BOS

Alongside the numbers, Richemont named Nicolas Bos, who currently heads up its French luxury jewellery brand Van Cleef & Arpels, to the re-established group CEO role, effective 1 June.

Bos, who knows the business inside out, having joined Richemont back in 1992, will continue to report to Rupert.

He has been global president and CEO of Van Cleef & Arpels since 2013 and has also presided over Italian high-end jewellery brand Buccellati since 2019.

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Issue Date: 17 May 2024