Hermès sales soar but bubbly firm falls flat

  • @LauraHChesters

Europe’s desire for expensive handbags and scarves appears stronger than its taste for champagne as the French luxury group Hermès posted a 16 per cent sales rise while the champagne maker Laurent-Perrier recorded a 10.5 per cent drop.

Hermès, which sells £300 silk scarves and £10,000 Birkin handbags, noted yesterday that demand “remained strong in Europe”, and reported that second-quarter sales were up 16 per cent at €910.4m (£788m). The group said the figure was boosted by its clothing and accessories ranges.

But Laurent-Perrier reported “difficult” economic conditions in Europe and said first-quarter sales fell 10.5 per cent to €40.7m.

Hermès said trading in the US and Asia was also strong. “In light of the sales achieved in the first half of the year, consolidated sales … could slightly exceed the mid-term growth target of 10 per cent,” it added.

Hermès has recently outperformed other luxury rivals, partly because it rations some of its most expensive items.  The only weak category for the group is its watches division, but  that still managed a to lift sales by 3 per cent in the quarter.