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Reuters
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May 7, 2009
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Hermes sales rise 3.2 percent in first quarter

By
Reuters
Published
May 7, 2009

PARIS, May 7 (Reuters) - Hermes (HRMS.PA) proved again it was resisting the crisis better than many of its rivals by posting a 3.2 percent rise in first-quarter sales on Thursday 7 May, helped by resilient demand for handbags and silk scarves.


Hermès handbag in crocodile skin - Photo : Sam Yeh/AFP

The world's second-largest luxury group by market value achieved revenue of 428.4 million euros ($570.4 million) in the three months to March 31, it said in a statement. This was roughly in line with expectations of 430 million euros based on the average of six analyst forecasts compiled by Reuters Estimates.

Hermes, known for chic leather bags starting at 1,500 euros and elegant silk scarves, said the business trend in the first quarter was in line with its target to achieve steady full-year sales.

The figures compare favourably with LVMH (LVMH.PA), which suffered a 7 percent drop in comparable first-quarter sales last month, and with PPR's (PRTP.PA) Gucci Group, whose like-for-like revenue fell 3.4 percent during the period.

"By sector, sales growth was driven by silk scarves, fashion accessories and the leather goods & saddlery division, with persistently brisk demand for leather bags," Hermes said.

"In the other sectors, sales receded, with a more pronounced downturn in perfumes despite the success of Terre d'Hermes, watches and tableware, where sales, achieved outside the group's stores, have been affected by distributors cutting down their inventories." (Reporting by Astrid Wendlandt; Editing by David Holmes) ($1=.7510 Euro)

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