INTERNATIONAL. The maker of Moet champagne and Louis Vuitton bags has defied the economic gloom with strong sales and an upbeat forecast for the remainder of the year.
LVMH, the world's largest owner of luxury brands, beat forecasts with sales up 15% to 16.3 billion euros in the nine months to September 30 as each of its divisions saw underlying growth of at least 10%. Third quarter like-for-like sales were up by 15%.
Watches and jewellery were best sellers as sales jumped by 26%, boosted by TAG Heuer's Formula One watches and the recent acquisition of Italian jeweller Bulgari.
Fashion and leather rose by 15% as Louis Vuitton's leather ranges sold well, while new launches for Givenchy and Kenzo boosted perfumes and cosmetics in the last three months.
In wines and sprits, sales grew by 11%, with good sales of Hennessy cognac in Asia and champagne and sparkling wine generally.
LVMH said that the excellent performance in the year so far confirmed its confidence for the remainder of 2011, adding it will look to expand further in the most promising of its markets.
Concern about a possible slowdown in luxury good sales had been growing because of the global economic uncertainty and also weaker economic data coming out of China recently.
Last week, UK rival Burberry reaffirmed the strength of the top end of the retail market and played down fears over China as it beat market forecasts with sales growth of 30% in its first half.
LVMH's other key brands include Dom Perignon and Krug champagne, Glenmorangie whisky, and fashion names Loewe, Kenzo and Thomas Pink.