Luxury giant Richemont sees sales soar

Swiss luxury goods group Richemont's sales catapulted by 23 percent year-on-year in the first five months of its 2012-13 accounting year, the company announced on Wednesday ahead of its annual assembly.

"The weakening of the euro against the dollar, in particular, had a positive impact on the group's reported sales," it said in a statement.

The group, which owns the Cartier, Piaget, Jaeger-LeCoultre and Montblanc brands, said that at constant exchange rates the rise in sales for the period ending August 31st stood at 13 percent.

During the same period last year, Richemont saw its sales, at constant exchange rates, jump by 35 percent.

"The prevailing economic uncertainties, the moderation in sales growth since May and the very strong basis of comparison do not prevent us from
maintaining our ambitious investment programme," company chief executive Johann Rupert said in a statement.

"Indeed we remain confident in the long term potential" of Richemont's brands, he added.

On a region-by-region basis, the company said sales in Europe during the past five months had jumped by 23 percent in terms of actual exchange rates and by 19 percent seen in constant rates, the numbers for Asia-Pacific were 27 and 12 percent and for the Americas they were 19 and six percent.

Richemont, which is set to report its half-year results on November 9th, confirmed the outlook given last month that operating profit for the period
would be 20-40 percent higher than last year.

"The increase in net profit for the six-month period is also likely to be in that range," Rupert said.

Following the news, Richemont saw its share price inch up 0.59 percent to 59.50 Swiss francs in mid-morning trading.

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It’s official! Switzerland is the most expensive country in the world

While anyone living in Switzerland might not have needed the reminder, a new study shows the cost of living in Switzerland is the highest of anywhere in the world.

It's official! Switzerland is the most expensive country in the world

Switzerland topped the list well ahead of Norway in second place, with Iceland, Japan and Denmark rounding out the top five. 

The rankings, put together by CEO World magazine, took into account rent, groceries, purchasing power, restaurants and the cost of living in 132 countries across the globe. 

European countries featured prominently in the top 20, while countries in Asia and the Caribbean were also prominent. 

Switzerland top of the list

Not only did Switzerland top the overall list, but it also ranked highly in several individual metrics, making the cost of living there officially the highest in the world. 

READ: Everything you need to know about the cost of living in Switzerland

Groceries in Switzerland are also more expensive than anywhere in the world, ranking a full 30 points higher than second-placed South Korea. 

But if you’re looking to avoid the grocery shop, eating out in Switzerland is also more expensive than anywhere else in the world. 

The only bright light in the rankings is Switzerland’s national purchasing power – which is also top of the list – perhaps explaining why the Swiss love to travel or even just shop abroad. 

This is of course more beneficial elsewhere, with the benefits of the country’s excellent purchasing power somewhat eroded by high prices at home. 

Photo: CEO World

In fact, the only metric Switzerland doesn’t top is rental costs. That’s not to say renting in Switzerland is cheap, but it trails Hong Kong, Singapore and Luxembourg on the international rent index. 

READ MORE: Eight things you need to know before renting in Switzerland 

Least expensive countries

Among the least expensive countries, central Asian nations rank highly. Pakistan is officially the least expensive, followed by Afghanistan, India and Syria. 

The least expensive European country on the list is Kosovo (124th) followed closely by Georgia (123rd). Romania is the least expensive European country on the list, in 99th place. 

Top ten most expensive countries as per CEO World magazine

1. Switzerland

2. Norway

3. Iceland

4. Japan

5. Denmark

6. Bahamas

7. Luxembourg

8. Israel

9. Singapore

10. South Korea