• Profit fell 44% to EUR599m (US$742.2m)
  • Operating profit margin dropped to 16% from 17.9%
  • Sales fell 4.5% to EUR5.18bn from EUR5.42bn

Luxury goods group Richemont SA says it continues to face "plenty of challenges" after posting a 44% drop in full-year profit, despite signs of an uptick in demand in the last two months.

Sales in April were 24% higher than the same month last year, the company said, but added that it remains very cautious.

Cost-cutting measures such as boutique closures, a reduction in the company's distribution network in markets like the US, and steps to control inventories all weighed on the bottom line in the year to 31 March.

But the firm said the Asia-Pacific region has been hit less hard by the global crisis than was initially feared.

The company, which owns the Cartier jewellery brand, in April agreed to buy online fashion portal Net-a-Porter in a deal which values the business at GBP350m (US$530m).