The economic impact of the Group’s activities is wide and varied. The revenues and profits we earn from the production and sale of our high quality products benefit a range of stakeholders. These are delivered through the salaries we pay our employees, payments to our suppliers and business partners, dividends to shareholders (who count many pensioners and pension funds) as well as the taxes and community contributions we pay from the profits we earn. Richemont continues to make significant investments in its manufacturing base. Last year, the Group invests some € 500 million in property plant and equipment. Our Community Investment spend amounted to € 30 million in the year under review.
We are a significant employer, directly employing and developing the skills of tens of thousands of employees globally and helping to support more jobs and activity through our supply chain. Richemont therefore contributes to economic development in Europe, particularly where we have our manufacturing bases. In the rest of the world, Richemont’s employee-base is concentrated in boutiques. The global network of directly-operated boutiques reached 1’123 in March 2018. The skills developed to meet customer expectations in those boutiques are complemented by professional employees in logistics, IT, finance, after-sales services and other support functions.