LMVH sales up in luxury bounce back

City A.M. Reporter
LVMH, the world's biggest luxury group, posted forecast-beating fourth-quarter comparable sales boosted by strong Christmas trading, and proposed a higher dividend on the back of a record year.

LVMH, whose Louis Vuitton brand accounts for half of group operating profit, said like-for-like revenue rose 13 per cent in the last quarter of 2010, beating analyst expectations of an 11 per cent increase.

The group proposed raising its dividend by 27 per cent to 2.10 euros a share.

The move comes after smaller peer Hermes unveiled a hefty interim dividend, its first ever.

LVMH benefited from Chinese shoppers' growing appetite for luxury goods at home and abroad as well as from a steady rise in discretionary spending globally.

Overall, the group generated a profit from recurring operations of 4.32 billion euros (£3.69bn) on revenue of 20.32bn euros.

LVMH's wines and spirits unit, which includes No.1 champagne maker Moet & Chandon, bounced back from the severe slump of 2009, together with its watches and jewellery division, home to brands Chaumet, Fred, Zenith and Tag Heuer.

Wines and spirits generated revenue growth of 19 percent in 2010 and lifted their profit from recurring operations by 22 per cent, as all champagne brands, particularly the prestige cuvees, experienced a recovery.

Watches and jewellery saw their profit from recurring operations double last year on 29 per cent higher revenue.

Louis Vuitton had another record year, LVMH added, with double-digit growth, while Fendi "performed well."

Global luxury sales climbed 10 per cent in 2010 after dropping 8 percent in 2009, the worst year on record for the industry, according to consultants Bain & Co.