Luxury giant LVMH sales rise 9% in fourth quarter

Luxury giant LVMH sales rise 9% in fourth quarter
By Reuters
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PARIS -Luxury goods group LVMH posted a 9% rise in sales in the fourth quarter as shoppers in Europe and the United States splurged over the crucial holiday season, helping to partly offset COVID disruptions in China.

Sales at the world’s biggest luxury group came to 22.7 billion euros ($24.65 billion) in the final three months of the year, with the 9% increase on an organic basis a touch above analyst expectations for 7% growth, according to a consensus cited by UBS.

That marked a deceleration however from the 20% growth recorded in the first nine months of the year, due to the hit in China from lockdowns and its subsequent exit from a zero-COVID policy, which has spurred a surge of infections in the world’s second-largest economy.

“China was sharply down in the fourth quarter,” the group’s finance chief, Jean-Jacques Guiony, told reporters.

“The Chinese market has been complicated due to the health restrictions … the second quarter was difficult, the third one better and the fourth one complex again,” he said, adding the pandemic had “spread like wildfire” after authorities relaxed travel curbs in December, causing problems in warehouses, stores and distribution networks.

“Everybody was sick, it’s as simple as that” he said. The situation had however markedly improved since the beginning of the year.

LVMH, a conglomerate spanning spirits, cosmetics and fashion which is regarded as a bellwether for the wider luxury industry, does not give a breakdown for its brands. But it said that in 2022 its star designer label Louis Vuitton surpassed 20 billion euros in sales for the first time — around a quarter of total group revenues for the year.

“With the month of January having started well and despite an uncertain geopolitical and economic environment, LVMH is confident in its ability to continue the growth observed in 2022,” the group said in a statement.

($1 = 0.9208 euros)

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