News: Richemont results and new Bulgari CEO

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LVMH recently announced that TAG Heuer CEO Jean-Christophe Babin will take the reins of its largest watch and jewellery brand, Bulgari, before June 30. He replaces Michael Burke, who moves on to lead Louis Vuitton, after its CEO quit a month into the job for health reasons. 

No successor has yet been named for Babin, who joined TAG Heuer in 2000 and moved the brand upmarket as well as vastly increased its vertical integration. LVMH, which also owns Hublot, bought Bulgari for a hefty EUR3.7 billion two years ago and Babin’s likely goal is to raise the brand’s profile to compete with Cartier.

Meanwhile over the Richemont, which owns Cartier, results for the third quarter ended 31 December 2012 were notable for several reasons. Overall revenue inched up by 5% at constant exchange rates. Growth in Asia-Pacific, excluding Japan, was flat. On the other hand, the Americas grew at 13% and Europe at 9%. This confirms what many industry executives have been saying for some time, that Europe and the USA are picking up, while Asia is slowing rapidly, in part due to political shifts in China.

As expect, retail sales (through own boutiques) outpaced wholesale (via distributers and retailers) at 9% against 2%.

Lastly, the group’s watch brands grew at 9% while Montblanc revenue was flat.

– SJX

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