PARIS – Call it the Frida effect.

Boosted partly by “excellent sales” of Frida Giannini’s ready-to-wear collection for Gucci, luxury goods sales powered ahead 19 percent at Gucci Group to 846.8 million euros, or $1.02 billion, in the first quarter – yet another bubbly showing for the high-flying sector.

The Gucci brand, experiencing a “boom” in sales in the Asia-Pacific region and strength in Japan, posted growth of 18.2 percent to 508.3 million euros, or $611.3 million in the three months ended March 31.

Reflecting improving household consumption in France, but less buoyancy in its vast retail operations, overall sales at conglomerate PPR rose 7.9 percent to 4.43 billion euros, or $5.33 billion. The retail portion logged a 5.6 percent uptick to 3.59 billion euros, or $4.32 billion. Dollar figures are converted from euros according to average exchange rates for the period.

“This quarter is definitely reflecting the good momentum of every quarter last year, the improvement of the economic environment and our growing international activities,” chief financial officer Jean-François Palus, said during a conference call on Thursday.

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