What's going on?
Things are ticking along nicely for Richemont – the world’s largest luxury watch and jewelry company, and owner of the Cartier brand. The Swiss company’s stock clocked a 1% rise on Monday after releasing some eye-catching results and welcoming a new CEO.
What does this mean?
Richemont’s sales of watches and jewelry were 10% higher over the last five months than a year ago (not including currency fluctuations), surpassing investors’ 8% growth forecasts. The watchmaker largely had the Americas to thank, along with Asia – which has been helping luxury companies around the world (including rival, Swatch). However, with all this trade war kerfuffle, some investors are concerned that Chinese luxury demand has peaked and a trough is imminent.
Meanwhile, Richemont’s CEO role had been vacant since March 2017 – but it’s currently being occupied by a 19-year company veteran, its now-former COO.
Why should I care?
The bigger picture: And the internet.
Earlier this year, Richemont bought online luxury shopping platform, Yoox Net-a-Porter (rival to Farfetch, which might soon become a public company), and Watchfinder (the UK’s largest seller of second-hand watches). Richemont’s sales including its recent digital acquisitions grew by 25% (i.e. more than double its sales growth over the last five months without their contribution). The internet’s getting kind of popular, even in luxury.
For you, personally: What’s in a name?
For luxury brands like Richemont, a lot of their value is in their name. Owning a Rolex is about owning a Rolex – not how well it tells the time (tweet this). So upholding and controlling the sense of value that makes people want to drop a few Gs on a timepiece is of the utmost importance (that’s also why luxury brands rarely discount – it’s better to lose money on some pieces that don’t sell than to devalue the brand with lower prices). Perhaps Richemont’s purchase of Watchfinder will help the company keep a watchful (😏) eye on second-hand purchases of its wares.