By Michelle Graff
Paris--The luxury conglomerate that owns Girard-Perregaux and JeanRichard said that the third-party distributors that buy its watches remain “cautious” in their purchasing, echoing the sentiment expressed by LVMH earlier this month.

Kering reported Thursday that sales in its luxury segment rose 4 percent year-over-year in the third quarter and are up 5 percent year-to-date due to a “strong sales uptrend in our network of directly operated stores,” Chairman and CEO François-Henri Pinault said. 

Sales in the company’s jewelry and timepieces division, however, were “more mixed, mainly resulting from cautious third-party distributors in the timepieces sector and high comparisons bases for (its jewelry brand) Boucheron.” 

In addition to Girard-Perregaux and JeanRichard, Kering also is in the process of purchasing Ulysee Nardin, with that transaction expected to be finalized in the fourth quarter. 

Paris-based LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton has made similar statements the past two quarters, stating at the conclusion of its latest quarter that, “Watches [particularly Hublot and TAG Heuer] continued to be impacted by the cautious purchasing behavior of multi-brand retailers in an uncertain economic environment.”

In addition, reports surfaced in September that Richemont, which owns a number of high-end watch brands as well as Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels, was cutting staff hours in its Cartier watch production and assembly division.  

Kering’s other holdings in luxury include jewelry brands Boucheron, Pomellato, Qeelin and Dodo, as well as fashion brands including Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent and Alexander McQueen.

Overall, the company’s revenue increased 4 percent on a comparable basis to $3.29 billion. Sales also are up 4 percent through the first nine months of the year.  

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