Cartier owner Richemont said strong demand for its jewellery and watches in the Americas and Europe helped sales rise by nearly a third in the quarter to December 31, the world's second largest luxury group said today.

Sales rose to €5.658 billion in the company's third quarter, a 32% increase when currency swings were removed.

The performance was 38% better than the 2019 Christmas quarter before the pandemic hit, Richemont said in a statement.

High-end watch sales recovered last year, with Swiss watch exports slightly above 2019 levels at the end of November, while Richemont also benefits from its exposure to the faster growing jewellery category.

Sales at jewellery brands Cartier, Buccellati and Van Cleef & Arpels were up 38%, while specialist watchmaker sales, including IWC and Vacheron Constantin, rose 25%, compared to the same time the previous year, Richemont said.

The Americas posted the strongest growth of 55%, followed by Europe with 42%, while China, which had already recovered the previous year, only saw 7% growth, Richemont said.

Kepler Cheuvreux analyst Jon Cox said it was "a very strong set of figures across the board, led by its peerless jewellery business", also highlighting growth in Europe "given it has lagged the recovery in other areas".

Earlier this week, Italian fashion group Prada posted a 41% rise in constant currency sales for 2021 thanks to pent-up demand for luxury handbags and clothes.

Peer LVMH, owner of the Bulgari and Tiffany jewellery brands, is due to post full-year results on January 27.

Swatch Group results are also expected later this month.