Richemont net profit booms with luxury goods revival

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Richemont, a world leader in luxury goods, on Friday reported an 87 percent surge in its first half net profit but hinted at a slowdown in the robust revival in demand over the coming months.

The group which owns brands such as Cartier, Montblanc and Jaeger-LeCoultre said that net profit for the first six months of its 2010-2011 business year reached 644 million euros (884 million dollars).

That was well above the average of 546 million euros predicted by analysts polled by Swiss business news agency AWP.

"The good performance achieved by Richemont in the first half of this year has been driven by a marked improvement in all business areas and across all geographies compared to the depressed levels seen last year," said chairman and chief executive Johann Rupert.

"For the second half of the financial year, we expect the high rate of growth in sales seen in the year to date to slow as a consequence of exchange rate movements and the more challenging prior year comparatives," he added.

Richemont started experiencing a recovery in demand for luxury goods in the second half of its 2009-2010 financial year after being hit by a slowdown with the financial crisis.

First half 2010-2011 sales grew 37 percent to 3.3 billion euros, partly buoyed by the acquisition of online fashion retailer, while operating profit grew 95 percent to 760 million euros.

Rupert said the group's cash reserves were unchanged at 1.9 billion euros.

© 2010 AFP

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