PARIS -- Hermes International said Monday that net profits rose 55.9 percent to $16.2 million (85.1 million francs) at current exchange rates for the first half of this year.

Consolidated sales for the period grew 24.3 percent to $284.8 million (1.5 billion francs). At constant exchange rates and comparable company structure, sales would have risen 19 percent, the firm said.

Also, noted financial director Mireille Maury, profits would have been roughly $22.2 million (117 million francs) in the latest six months, if Hermès had not fully depreciated the goodwill linked to the purchase of the remaining 50 percent of the holding that owns Cristalleries de Saint-Louis crystal company and the Puiforcat silver concern.

Hermes said silk and leather goods, ready-to-wear and watch lines achieved "significant" sales increases. It added that volume was strong both in its wholly owned stores and in concession, or franchised, stores throughout the 16 countries where Hermès goods are sold.

Sales for perfumes, a weak category for Hermes, were flat for the first half.

For the full year, the company said only that its profits and sales "should improve" over 1993, when earnings came to $39.9 million (210.2 million francs) on sales of $531.6 million (2.8 billion francs).

-- Fairchild News Service

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