LVMH sales grow as luxury goods industry rebounds

Owner of Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior sees second quarter revenue increase by 9%

The world's largest luxury-goods maker LVMH, and Gucci owner Kering, 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 per cent, more than the first-quarter's 7 per cent gain.

Luxury sales at Kering rose 9.4 per cent on a comparable basis, exceeding the previous quarter’s 6.4 per cent increase, the Paris-based company said yesterday.

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 3.6 per cent to €135.05 in Paris trading. Kering climbed 3.4 per cent to €176.10.

Loro Piana LVMH, which this month agreed to pay €2 billion for 80 per cent of Italian clothier Loro Piana SpA, said first-half sales at its fashion and leather-goods unit rose 5 per cent, excluding acquisitions, disposals and currency shifts.

That was an improvement on the first-quarter's 3 per cent growth. Second-quarter sales at Kering, formerly known as PPR, were driven by Bottega Veneta.

The brand had growth of 17 per cent on a comparable basis, about double the pace of the previous three months. That topped Gucci’s 4.1 per cent advance, which was little changed from the first-quarter’s 4 per cent increase and below the 4.9 per cent 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 per cent 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 per cent to €843 million in the six months ended June 30th, 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 per cent to €2.71 billion, the Paris-based company said yesterday. First-half sales advanced 5.6 percent to €13.7 billion, or 8 per cent excluding currency shifts and acquisitions.

"It is with confidence that we approach the second half of the year," chairman and chief executive 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.