Asia and USA boost LVMH revenues19 April 2012
LVMH, the world’s biggest luxury goods group, said first-quarter revenue grew 25% thanks to particularly strong growth in Asia and the United States, as wealthy shoppers shrugged off a tumultuous global economy. The fashion and leather goods division grew by 12%.
Nevertheless, the French company, owner of brands such as Moet Hennessy and fashion designer Celine, described the economic outlook for Europe as uncertain and said it would keep a tight control over costs.
Quarterly sales rose 14% on a like-for-like basis to €6.58 billion ($8.7 billion).
The all-important Fashion & Leather goods division, which accounts for around a third of the company's revenue and grew 12% on an organic basis for the quarter, came in slightly below some analysts expectations, however.
LVMH CEO Bernard Arnault made what some considered bullish comments at the annual shareholders' meeting in early April, saying first-quarter growth was above what it had been in the last quarter of 2011.
And while this was true, the growth did not come primarily from Fashion & Leather as some expected, indicating the Louis Vuitton brand, which accounted for half of group operating profit in 2011, had not performed to the levels of last year.
The luxury industry has performed well despite uncertainty and economic slowdown around the world. Strong growth in emerging markets, plus a tendency among Asian shoppers to buy luxury goods when on vacation in Europe, have particularly helped companies like LVMH.
But all eyes are on the horizon for any signs that these wealthy Chinese and South American shoppers may be closing their purses.
LVMH has been trying to secure its business by gaining footholds in a variety of luxury divisions with dispersed geographic sales.
Last year it bought Italian jeweller Bulgari, helping to account for a 141% rise in reported revenue growth for the quarter in the watches and jewellery division.
LVMH, which took the luxury world by surprise in late 2010 by announcing it had built a stake in high-end luxury leather and fashion company, Hermes, said in December their holding had risen to 22.3%.
In February, Chief Executive Bernard Arnault said the company's priority remained organic growth, with acquisitions the exception.