Richemont expects first-half profits to nearly halve after sales slipped in the first 5 months of its financial year and it was forced to buy back inventory from Asia. The luxury goods firm. The luxury goods firm has claimed low tourist activity had hit sales in Europe, particularly in France, however, a strong yen has meant Japan has had high comparable figures. In the 5 months to the end of August, the company has seen a 14% fall in sales. The maker of Cartier jewellery and IWC watches has made staff cuts and also bought back watches from retailers in Hong Kong, although not all their competitors have followed suit. Controlling shareholder and Chairman Johann Rupert explained that many ‘esteemed companies, continue to pump excess stock into the market that will inevitably end up in the grey market’.