Home / Companies / Company-results /  LVMH sales growth accelerates as luxury-goods makers rebound

Paris: LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA, the world’s largest luxury-goods maker, and Gucci owner Kering SA reported accelerating sales growth as the industry rebounded from a weak start to the year.

LVMH, the owner of Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior, said second-quarter organic revenue advanced 9%, more than the first-quarter’s 7% gain. Luxury sales at Kering rose 9.4% on a comparable basis, exceeding the previous quarter’s 6.4% increase, the Paris-based company said on Thursday.

The stronger sales performances provided some relief for luxury investors after a stuttering start to the year at both companies. First-quarter revenue growth at Gucci and LVMH’s fashion and leather-goods unit was the weakest in more than three years, hurt partly by weaker Chinese consumption. Both companies expressed confidence in the second-half outlook.

“I expect trading updates to continue to improve in the second half" as the basis of comparison gets easier and confidence among rich Chinese consumers strengthens, Luca Solca, an analyst at Exane BNP Paribas, said by e-mail.

LVMH rose as much as 5.7% in Paris trading, the steepest intraday gain since 10 January 2012, and was up 4.5% at €136.30 as of 11:40 am. Kering climbed 4.2% to €178.10.

Loro Piana

LVMH, which this month agreed to pay €2 billion ($2.7 billion) for 80% of Italian clothier Loro Piana SpA, said first-half sales at its fashion and leather-goods unit rose 5%, excluding acquisitions, disposals and currency shifts. That was an improvement on the first-quarter’s 3% growth.

Second-quarter sales at Kering, formerly known as PPR, were driven by Bottega Veneta. The brand had growth of 17% on a comparable basis, about double the pace of the previous three months. That topped Gucci’s 4.1% advance, which was little changed from the first-quarter’s 4% increase and below the 4.9% median estimate of 16 analysts.

Gucci’s growth was “a touch below expectations," while the company’s other luxury brands exceeded estimates, Solca said. Their performance is “yet another reminder of the smaller brands’ importance to the big picture," said Eva Quiroga, an analyst at UBS AG, in a note to clients.

Hermes International SCA, in which LVMH has a stake, this month reported a 16% increase in quarterly revenue, excluding currency swings, as sales of its Kelly handbags and other goods surged in Asia and the Americas.

Sporting Goods

First-half profit at Kering beat estimates as the luxury unit’s growth compensated for lower sales at Puma SE, the sporting-goods company in which it owns a majority stake.

So-called recurring operating income advanced 2.3% to €843 million in the six months ended 30 June, the company said. Analysts predicted €824 million, the median of 16 estimates surveyed by Bloomberg.

“Trends recorded in the first six months of 2013 should continue in the second half," Kering said in the statement. “In this context, the group maintains its goal of improving its operating and financial performances in the full year."

LVMH’s first-half profit from recurring operations climbed 2% to €2.71 billion, the Paris-based company said on Thursday. Analysts predicted €2.76 billion, according to the average estimate compiled by Bloomberg.

First-half sales advanced 5.6% to €13.7 billion, or 8% excluding currency shifts and acquisitions.

“It is with confidence that we approach the second half of the year," chairman and chief executive officer Bernard Arnault said in the statement.

Increased investment in smaller brands is helping support growth at LVMH’s fashion and leather-goods unit, said Solca. The “EBIT impact shows this transition is neither immediate nor painless, though, as LVMH scrambles to support growth." Bloomberg

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