Hermès flies high in China

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The Independent Online

Chinese consumers' switch from buying bling and logo-covered luxury goods to more understated designer brands has helped the über-luxury French group Hermès.

The Paris-based family-controlled brand saw double-digit increases in sales and profits across most markets in the first six months of the year. First-half sales hit €1.6bn (£1.3bn), up 22 per cent.

Despite some brands, including Burberry and Hugo Boss, succumbing to a slowdown in sales growth in Asia, Hermès reported a 25 per cent rise in sales in China, Singapore and Hong Kong. But Europe was still strong for the group, with France up 10 per cent and the rest of Europe up 21 per cent. Japan was its weakest market, with sales growth of 3 per cent.

Hermès, famed for its handbags and scarves, predicted annual sales growth of "around 12 per cent" for the year, a revision up from the 10 per cent it predicted last month. It beat analyst's forecasts for the half-year and said operating profit climbed 22.2 per cent to €510.9m, up from €418.1m a year ago. Net profit rose 15 per cent to €335.1m.

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