| HONG KONG, June 17
HONG KONG, June 17 Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group
Ltd, the world's largest jewellery retailer by market
value, said on Tuesday its profit for the year ended March
jumped 32 percent, thanks to strong demand for gold products
early last year.
Chow Tai Fook, a well-known brand among consumers in
mainland China, posted a profit of HK$7.3 billion ($942
million), in line with a forecast for profit of HK$7.14 billion,
according to Thomson Reuters' SmartEstimate. That compared with
HK$5.51 billion profit in the previous year.
"We have every confidence in the economic development of
mainland China, being one of the world's strongest economies and
the second-largest luxury market," chairman Henry Cheng said in
a filing to the Hong Kong bourse.
"We are positive about Hong Kong for having the fundamentals
and strengths to remain a vibrant global business platform and a
favourite tourist and shopping destination," he added.
Chow Tai Fook, which competes against smaller rival Luk Fook
Holdings International Ltd, had in November posted a
92.3 percent jump in April-September profit, fuelled by a "gold
rush" as precious metal prices fell and buyers ignored slower
economic growth and a crackdown on luxury spending in China.
Analysts said weakening retail sales in Hong Kong and slower
growth of mainland travellers visiting the city had prompted
concern over the outlook for both retailers and retail property
owners. Chow Tai Fook is seen, however, to be in a relatively
better position due to its large exposure to mainland China.
Hong Kong saw its sales value of jewellery, watches and
valuable gifts dive 39.9 percent in April due to a plunge in
sales of gold jewellery as compared to the start of the "gold
rush" in April last year.
In China, jewellery sales remained weak, falling 12.1
percent in May. That was compared to a 30 percent drop in April,
and a 6.1 percent decline in March.
Shares of Chow Tai Fook ended up 1.3 percent before the
earnings were announced.
($1 = 7.7515 Hong Kong dollars)
(Editing by Matt Driskill)