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LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton Posts 7% 1-Qtr Sales Gain

The French luxury giant trumpeted double-digit organic growth across all business groups for the three months ended March 31.

PARIS – Citing robust sales of rose champagne, checkered handbags and sporty watches, LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton said first-quarter sales jumped 7 percent to 3.804 billion euros, or $4.9 billion at the average exchange rate.

Stripping out the impact of currency, the increase stood at 13 percent. The French luxury giant trumpeted double-digit organic growth across all business groups for the three months ended March 31. The company also noted the U.S., Asia and Europe performed particularly well.

Analysts applauded the strong showing, which beat expectations, but cited concerns about soft sales in Japan, particularly for the cash-cow Louis Vuitton brand.

By division, reported sales advanced 9 percent for wines and spirits to 689 million euros, or $903 million; 3.9 percent in fashion and leather goods to 1.347 billion euros, or $1.8 billion; 11.1 percent in perfumes and cosmetics to 663 million euors, or $869 million; 20 percent in watches and jewelry to 189 million euros, or $247 million; and 5.1 percent in selective retailing to 941 million euros, or $1.2 billion.

Despite what it called “a difficult monetary environment at the beginning of the year,” referring to the weak yen and dollar, LVMH confirmed its objective of “significant growth” in its 2007 results.