Hermes sales surge on luxury demand in Asia

HERMES International SCA, the French maker of silk scarves and leather goods, has reported second-quarter sales that beat estimates on surging demand in Asia and said first-half profit growth matched the improvement in revenue.

HERMES International SCA, the French maker of silk scarves and leather goods, has reported second-quarter sales that beat estimates on surging demand in Asia and said first-half profit growth matched the improvement in revenue.

Sales rose 22 per cent to ?814.5 million ($A968.4 million), the Paris-based company said yesterday, exceeding the ?799.3 million average of three analysts' estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Revenue increased 13 per cent excluding currency shifts.

Hermes, in which LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA owns a 22.3 per cent stake, has repeated its goal of revenue growth of 10 per cent a year, excluding currency shifts. The shares gained as much as 1.9 per cent. European luxury stocks fell last week after Burberry Group reported sales that missed estimates, fuelling concern that the debt crisis and slowing growth in China were taking a toll on demand for high-end goods.

First-half recurring operating income should be in line with the 22 per cent rate that sales grew in the period, Hermes said in a statement. Its full-year operating profit margin should be between that achieved in 2010 and 2011.

Second-quarter sales surged 27 per cent in the Asia region at constant exchange rates, accelerating from the first quarter, the company said. That excluded Japan, where revenue fell 1.1 per cent on the same basis.

Sales climbed 6.8 per cent in France and 16 per cent in the rest of Europe at constant exchange rates, Hermes said.

Overall in Europe, revenue advanced 12 per cent, slowing from the first quarter's 21 per cent rate.

In the Americas region, sales gained 8.2 per cent at constant exchange rates, the company said.

Leather-goods revenue advanced 7.4 per cent, and silk and textiles gained 16 per cent, while ready-to-wear and fashion accessories grew 22 per cent.

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