Net-a-Porter and luxury brand owner Richemont says three-quarters of group sales were direct to customers in the opening quarter of its financial year. Growth has slowed online following a year of fast growth, but retail sales – through its shops – saw stronger growth.
Richemont owns both online retailers and luxury jewellery, watch, fashion accessories and beauty brands and says that ecommerce growth slowed among its online distributors – where sales grew by 8% on the previous year – but has grown quickly at its jewellery and watch brands. Its online distributors include Net-A-Porter, Mr Porter and Yoox, while its jewellery and watch brands include Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, Piaget and Vacheron Constantin. Across the Richemont business, 75% per cent of sales were direct to consumers following fast growth since the same period last year, equivalent to about 200 base points.
The return of tourism to markets including the US has offset the slowdown in China and other Asian markets that has resulted from continuing Covid-19 lockdowns and a zero covid policy.
Group sales came in at €5.3bn (£4.51bn) in the first quarter of Richemont’s financial year – to June 30 2022. That’s 20% ahead of the same time last year, on actual currency rates. Sales grew in markets including Europe (+43% to €1.3bn/£1.1bn), the Americas (+41% to €1.3bn/£1.1bn) and Japan (+75% to €421m/£357.9m) but declined in Asia Pacific (-8% to €1.8bn/£1.5bn).
Direct retail sales grew by 26% to €3.1bn (£2.6bn) while online sales grew by 12% to €910m (£773.6m), with sales by its ecommerce distributors 8% ahead at €691m (£587m). Wholesale and licensing income grew by 12% to €1.3bn (£1.1bn).
Richemont said in its first-quarter trading statement said: “All channels and business areas, as well as most regions, generated sales growth versus the prior year period notwithstanding an uncertain environment and demanding comparatives following a 129% sales rebound in the prior year comparable period.”