Due to closures of points of sales, logistics centres and manufacturing sites, as well as the halt in international tourism resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic, sales contracted by 25% at constant exchange rates and by 26% at actual exchange rates in the first half of 2021. As initial lockdown measures began to ease, sales grew by 17% and by 12% at constant and actual exchange rates, respectively, in the second half of 2021 compared to the same period in 2020.
Fourth quarter sales growth was 36% and 30% at constant and actual exchange rates respectively, containing the decline in full year sales of 5% at constant exchange rates and 8% at actual exchange rates.
There was triple-digit growth for Group Maisons’ online retail sales, underscoring the success of Maisons’ digital transformation. Overall online retail sales grew 6% at actual exchange rates, accounting for 21% of Group sales. Digital also enabled more diverse customer journeys and increased direct engagement with end clients, now accounting for around three quarters of sales.
Jewellery Maisons grew sales beyond pre-Covid levels and increased operating margin to 31%, supported by strong double-digit sales growth in the second half of 2021.
Strong performance in mainland China contributed to 19% sales growth in Asia Pacific, where year-on-year sales rose by triple digits in the fourth quarter.
The group believes it has made strong progress across its main focus areas in alignment with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. It is working to finalise a formal commitment to Science-Based Targets in line with the Paris Agreement. There are many more initiatives, either completed or underway, which the group will provide details of in its 2021 Sustainability Report in July 2021.
The Group says that there are still concerning Covid-19 developments in parts of the world that could slow down a global recovery, even though underlying demand seems strong with supportive central bank actions, substantial government stimulus packages, and real estate and stock markets at all-time highs. The Group’s will continue taking decisive action to transform the business with a focus on digital initiatives, customer-centricity and forging strategic partnerships.