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China sales fuel LVMH record year

China sales fuel LVMH record year
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A growing appetite for luxury goods in China helped LVMH post a 13 percent rise in sales in the final three months of last year. The world’s biggest luxury group made profit of 4.3 billion euros for all of 2010.

LVMH, whose Louis Vuitton brand accounts for more than half of group operating profit, also proposed raising its dividend by 27 percent on the back of a record year.

Chief Executive Bernard Arnault said he had reason to be optimistic about 2011 and said he was confident the group’s performance would beat last year’s.

One day earlier LVMH’s smaller French peer Hermes posted forecast-beating 2010 results and unveiled a hefty interim dividend, its first ever, to be paid out immediately using record cash levels.

Swiss luxury group Richemont, British handbag maker Mulberry and Italian leather goods group Tod’s have all reported buoyant Christmas trading and expressed optimism about 2011.

In January British luxury brand Burberry predicted full-year profit at the top end of expectations.