SOTHEBY’S have released more details of their 2011 results, showing a 7% rise in revenue to $831.8m against global sales figures of $4.9bn. Profits were $171.4m.
Like rivals Christie's, the company have
been keen to highlight their performance in the private sales
arena, racking up $814.6m in sales, around 16.5% of all Sotheby's
sales, compared to Christie's $808.6m, (14%).
For both companies the overall results were
their best ever after 2007.
As always, better times bring a higher cost
base as the company invest more in staff and business development,
this time singling out expansion in China, IT and online activity
as areas of focus.
Details of how well Sotheby's live bidding
platform Bid Now is developing remain sketchy. The company have
been cautious over their online offering after the original failed
launch of sothebys.com cost them £25m in the first wave of dotcom
ebullience around a decade ago.
Christie's, who have been more forthcoming about their live
bidding operation, Christie's Live have seen a small increase in
those buying online in the past year, from 28% to 29% of their
clientele, but sales volumes online have grown from 11% of all
items sold by value to 14% in that time.