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(Bloomberg) -- Richemont, the maker of Cartier jewelry, reported its weakest Christmas quarter in six years as protests in Hong Kong disrupted sales in the biggest market for Swiss watches.

Revenue excluding currency shifts was unchanged in the three months through December, compared with the year-earlier period, the Geneva-based company said today in a statement. Analysts expected 1.5 percent growth, according to the average estimate in a Bloomberg survey.

Protests in Hong Kong, where rich Chinese purchase watches and jewelry at lower tax rates than on the mainland, caused shops to close in September and October. The pro-democracy demonstrations coincided with the China National Day holidays known as Golden Week, one of the busiest times of the year, as well as a watch industry show in the city.

While growth in the watch and jewelry industry has been slowing, luxury-goods makers have been amassing record levels of cash. The company, whose full name is Cie. Financiere Richemont SA,, said today that net cash rose 14 percent to 4.9 billion euros at the end of the period.

Richemont doesn’t report profit for the fiscal third quarter, which last year made up 28 percent of its annual sales. The company reported a 4 percent drop in first-half operating profit in November, when the company also said the decline in the Chinese market was moderating.

To contact the reporter on this story: Corinne Gretler in Zurich at cgretler1@bloomberg.net To contact the editors responsible for this story: Celeste Perri at cperri@bloomberg.net Thomas Mulier, John Bowker

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The citizens' meeting

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