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Harry Winston posts heavy third-quarter losses

Canadian-based luxury jeweller Harry Winston said writedowns and disappointing sales in its mining unit are behind its third-quarter losses.

Francois Mori/AP/Francois Mori/AP

The Canadian-based luxury jewellery retailer and diamond miner Harry Winston reported heavy third-quarter losses late Thursday, owing to writedowns and disappointing sales within its mining sector.

Sales stood at $36.2-million (U.S.) for the group's mining division, a drop of 40 per cent when compared with figures reported at the end of the same quarter last year. Rough diamond production for the same period had increased 8 per cent to 800,000 carats.

"Challenging trading conditions returned to the diamond business internationally in the third quarter," Robert Gannicott, Harry Winston's chairman and chief executive officer, said in a statement.

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As a result, the company had decided to sell its rough diamonds selectively within stronger markets.

"We elected not to sell the full rough diamond production into a weak market during the quarter but continued to supply the segments where demand remained resilient.

"We have now resumed a wider range of rough diamond sales as the market has recovered some poise in the light of continuing good consumer demand," Mr. Gannicott said.

Elsewhere, however, the jeweller's retail division saw sales expand 4.1 per cent to $83.5-million, from sales in 2010 of $80.2-million, adding to the trend of luxury retailers showing gains despite the volatile economic climate. The group's retail arm accounts for the bulk of its revenue.

The company said it would continue to focus on expanding its core bridal and watch businesses, as well as its future jewellery lines.

Copyright The Financial Times Ltd. All rights reserved.

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