Richemont 5-month sales hit by weak watches, inventory buyback

ZURICH, Sept 14 (Reuters) - Luxury goods group Richemont said it expected difficult trading conditions to continue after sales fell 13 percent in constant currencies in the five months to August, hit by weak demand for luxury watches and inventory buybacks in Hong Kong.

Swiss watchmakers are grappling with dwindling sales in their biggest market, Hong Kong, where retailers sit on piles of unsold watches, and fewer tourists shopping in European luxury capitals, such as Paris, following extremist attacks.

Sales at the maker of IWC watches and Cartier jewellery fell 14 percent in reported terms, the company said in a statement on Wednesday ahead of its annual general meeting in Geneva.

Analysts in a Reuters poll had expected sales to fall 11.3 percent in reported terms and 10.4 percent at constant exchange rates. (Reporting by Silke Koltrowitz and John Revill)