LVMH rides out economic storms

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The Independent Online

Despite a slowdown in China and turmoil in Europe, the insatiable demand for monogrammed Louis Vuitton luggage and Marc Jacobs handbags is showing no signs of abating.

The Paris-based luxury goods group Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy has revealed a forecast-beating 14 per cent sales rise in the first quarter on a like-for-like basis, and a 25 per cent leap on an absolute basis. Overall sales for 2012 grew to €6.6bn (£5.4bn), beating the 20 per cent growth in the final quarter of 2011.

LVMH admitted it is facing an "uncertain" European economy and said it is placing "strict control over costs", but said Europe was showing signs of improvement, while business was strong in the US and in Asia.

TAG Heuer and Bulgari necklaces helped it report sales growth of 141 per cent to €630m for the jewellery division, mainly boosted by last year's acquisition of Bulgari.

Around a third of sales for the group come from fashion and leather such as Louis Vuitton and Fendi, which grew 12 per cent on a like-for-like basis.

Revenue was also swelled by selective retailing, which includes the perfume chain Sephora and Paris department store Le Bon Marché, which saw sales surge 18 per cent.