During its 2019/2020 financial year, which ended on March 31st Richemont recorded a turnover of 14,238 million euros, up 2% at real and constant exchange rates.
Fourth quarter sales declined by 18% at actual exchange rates, with sales in Asia Pacific down by 36%, including Hong Kong SAR, China, down by 67%; sales in Europe decreased by 9% while they rose by 9% in the Americas.
Johann Rupert, Chairman of the Group, said:
Until the outbreak of Covid-19 in January, the Group recorded a good sales performance, bearing in mind protests in Hong Kong and France. In the fourth quarter of the financial year, however, almost all regions were impacted by the pandemic, with sales down by 18% at actual exchange rates, including a 67% sales decline in Hong Kong. For the year as a whole, good performances in the Americas, Europe and Japan more than offset a decline in Asia Pacific. The Jewellery Maisons and Online Distributors showed resilience. A notable acceleration of online sales partially mitigated a halt in tourism and store closures, all of which affected our retail and wholesale sales. Online sales reached 19% of Group sales at year end, compared to 16% a year ago, reflecting our continued focus on expanding our capabilities in an increasingly digital world.
Despite the challenging fourth quarter sales, the Jewellery Maisons grew modestly driven by positive retail sales and strong online sales. Iconic jewellery collections, particularly Juste un Clou de Cartier and Perlée at Van Cleef & Arpels, and the new Clash de Cartier collection drove increased jewellery sales. Performance was varied among the Specialist Watchmakers, with overall sales contracting by 4%, largely due to the impact of Covid-19 and the protests previously mentioned. However, Officine Panerai with its new Submersible Carbotech and A. Lange & Söhne with the Lange 1 anniversary editions generated good growth. Online Distributors recorded double digit sales progression despite temporary closures of distribution centres prompted by the Covid-19 outbreak. Our Maisons grouped under Other posted lower sales notwithstanding good momentum at Peter Millar. Online sales grew strongly driven by Montblanc and Peter Millar.
Operating profit decreased by 22%, mainly due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Profit for the year declined by 67% to € 931 million. Due to our constant safeguarding of liquidity, our balance sheet remains healthy. At 31 March 2020, our gross cash position amounted to € 6,347 million and our net cash position was € 2,395 million.
After long discussions, the Board propose to pay a lower cash dividend of CHF 1.00 per ‘A’ share (and CHF 0.10 per ‘B’ share).
May 20, 2020