PARIS -- Hermes International reported consolidated sales in the first quarter rose 31.7 percent, to $132.9 million (759 million francs) at current exchange rates, compared with the same period in 1993.

At constant exchange rates and excluding new stores, the sales increase would have been 24.9 percent.

"It was a good quarter," said Patrick Thomas, managing director for Hermes. He cited scarves, ready-to-wear and leather goods as the products fueling the growth.

Scarves benefited from a product-driven advertising campaign that ran in countries like Japan and the U.S., he said, adding that scarf sales have been growing consistently over recent years. Perfumes, which fared less well than other Hermes goods last year, continued their downward trend during this quarter with a "slight decrease," Thomas said.

Sales growth was seen in most of Hermes's international markets, especially Southeast Asia, he said.

Volume was also boosted by the opening late last year of Hermes stores in Bologna, Italy, Barcelona and Mexico City, and the opening of an Hermes boutique in the Takashimaya store in Singapore.

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