By Brecken Branstrator
Geneva—Despite social unrest and protests in France denting sales in Europe, luxury conglomerate Richemont’s jewelry and overall sales remained strong in the third quarter 2018.

Sales at the company’s jewelry maisons were up 9 percent at actual exchange rates (8 percent at constant exchange rates) to nearly €2 billion (about $2.3 billion) in the quarter ended Dec. 31.

Meanwhile, the conglomerate’s specialist watchmakers division was up 1 percent at actual exchange rates and flat at constant exchange rates at €790 million, or $905.8 million.

In the Americas, sales for the company were up 43 percent at actual exchange rates (41 percent at constant exchange rates).

In Europe, sales during the third quarter rose 34 percent at actual exchange rates. Asia Pacific sales also were up, increasing 17 percent, as was Japan, also at 17 percent.

Sales in the Middle East and Africa were flat.

Richemont’s two acquisitions, Yoox Net-a-Porter (YNAP) and Watchfinder, were consolidated into the group’s accounts on May 1, 2018, and June 1, 2018, respectively. The company said YNAP posted double-digit growth across all regions during the quarter, while Watchfinder’s sales “expanded more moderately.”

When Richemont excluded the two new divisions to make a more meaningful comparison with the year-earlier period, it said it saw sales growth in all regions except the Middle East and Europe.

When calculating the figures this way, sales in the Americas were up 9 percent, buoyed by a good performance from jewelry (Richemont owns Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels).

Meanwhile, a 10 percent increase in sales in the Asia Pacific region reflected double-digit sales growth in mainland China as well as “good” increases in other main markets.

Sales growth in Hong Kong slowed, however, due primarily to the strength of the Hong Kong dollar against the Chinese renminbi, leading to lower tourist spending.

Richemont said sales in Europe were affected in the latter part of the quarter by the social unrest and protests in France, which negatively impacted tourism and led to store closures for six consecutive Saturdays, though it did not reveal the specific impact on sales in the region.

But it doesn’t appear the unrest had much negative impact on group sales.

Overall, with YNAP and Watchfinder included, group sales rose by 25 percent at actual exchange rates and 24 percent by constant exchange rates.

Meanwhile, sales of jewelry and watches at Richemont brands’ own stores performed better than the wholesale side of the business in the third quarter.

Richemont’s brands’ retail channels saw a 7 percent increase in sales, with growth slowing in December due in part to the temporary store closures in France, while the wholesale channel posted a 2 percent increase, which Richemont said reflected “ongoing cautious watch inventory management,” among other factors.

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