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China strength boosts Birkin maker Hermes' sales in first-quarter

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China strength boosts Birkin maker Hermes' sales in first-quarter
FILE PHOTO: The logo of French luxury group Hermes is seen at a store in Zurich, Switzerland October 26, 2016. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann   -   Copyright  Arnd Wiegmann(Reuters)
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PARIS (Reuters) – Hermes, the French leather goods manufacturer behind the $10,000 (£7,744.7) plus Birkin and Kelly handbags, said on Thursday that strong demand in mainland China helped its sales grow at a faster pace in the first quarter.

The company, which recently confirmed that it would be pushing into cosmetics as of 2020, reported a 16 percent rise in sales to 1.6 billion euros (£1.4 billion) in the first quarter.

They were up 12 percent at constant exchange rates, accelerating from the 9.6 percent growth notched up in the previous three months.

This showed “the continuation of a dynamic trend, particularly in China”, Chief Executive Axel Dumas said in a statement.

Several luxury goods peers, from Louis Vuitton owner LVMH to Gucci parent Kering, have reported similar trends so far in 2019 as spending by Chinese customers shifts from tourist destinations overseas to their home turf.

Hermes’ leather goods division was particularly strong in the first quarter, while the unit that makes its famed squared silk scarves and neckties continued to lag.

(Reporting by Pascale Denis and Sarah White; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta)

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