A “buoyant environment” so far in 2019 helped organic sales at LVMH, the world’s largest luxury group by revenues, outperform market expectations in the first three months of the year, standing up to investor scrutiny over fears of a slowdown in the market.
LVMH said on Wednesday after the market close that sales grew 11 per cent on a like-for-like basis to €12.5bn, ahead of the €12.2bn sales and 8.8 per cent organic growth in analyst consensus compiled by Bloomberg.
LVMH is a bellwether for the luxury goods sector and investors are watching closely for a sign of a slowdown in its core market of China, wary that a trade war with the US could take its toll on consumer demand for high-end products as the impact of tariffs bite.
LVMH’s latest results so far shrugged off these concerns. It joined French rival Hermès in reassuring the market that “the trends observed in 2018 continued in the first quarter” and “all geographic regions are experiencing good growth.”
LVMH’s wines and spirits division grew 9 per cent and selective retailing, home to its Sephora chain of beauty stores, rose 8 per cent, both ahead of analyst estimates. Meanwhile, sales at its perfume and cosmetics division rose 9 per cent and watches and jewellery unit climbed 4 per cent, both behind analyst projections.
Performance at LVMH was led by fashion and leather goods, its largest division, where organic sales grew 15 per cent to €5.1bn. LVMH said this was due to “exceptional” performance at Louis Vuitton, its largest brand, and at Christian Dior Couture. The first three months of this year cover sales for the opening collections of new designers at various brands in the luxury group: Virgil Abloh at Louis Vuitton, Hedi Slimane at Céline and Kim Jones at Dior. However LVMH does not break out sales publicly for individual brands.
LVMH’s shares have climbed 27 per cent this year since January 29 when the group announced record sales for 2018.
Luxury rival Kering, owner of Gucci, will report its first-quarter results on 17 April.
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