LVMH posts strong start to year despite some wine woes in China

Kasmira Jefford
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Losing its sparkle: LVMH’s wines and spirits division recorded a decline in the first quarter
FRENCH luxury goods group LVMH posted a three per cent rise in like-for-like first-quarter sales yesterday, boosted by the weak euro against the dollar and a strong performance from its key brand Louis Vuitton.

Total sales in the first three months of the year increased by 16 per cent on a reported basis to €8.3bn (£6bn), thanks to its biggest category fashion and leather goods.

Organic sales at constant exchange rates rose three per cent.

The world’s biggest make of luxury goods said Louis Vuitton recorded “an excellent start to the year” thanks to new product launches and strong growth from its established lines.

Overall, reported sales across fashion and leather, which includes its Fendi, Celine, Givenchy, Kenzo and Berluti brands, were up 13 per cent to €2.98bn.

However, LVMH said its wines and spirits unit, which includes the flagship Hennessy cognac brand, was hurt by Chinese distributors destocking drinks. It was the only LVMH division to record a decline in organic sales in the first quarter.

A Chinese clampdown on extravagant spending on gifts has particularly hit premium cognac. However LVMH said its Hennessy cognac displayed an overall increase in volume due to the strength of the US market.

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