By  on October 17, 2006

PARIS – Mini monogram leather goods were popular items in the third quarter, but did not translate into big enough sales gains for LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton.

The French luxury goods giant missed analysts’ expectations in reporting a 6.8 percent rise in third-quarter sales to 3.658 billion euros or $4.66 billion at current average exchange.

In an initial research comment, Goldman Sachs analyst Jacques-Franck Dossin calculated that sales in LVMH’s two largest divisions – wines and spirits, and fashion and leather goods – showed a marginal deceleration from the first half.

LVMH, which saw its shares slide in initial trading on the Paris Bourse, was to discuss the figures during a conference call at 3 p.m. Paris time.

The numbers suggest that European luxury firms, which have been on a mighty roll, could see momentum slow in the second half due to the impact of a strong euro, which puts a dent in sales reported from dollar and yen regions.

In a release, LVMH trumpeted “strong momentum” in the third quarter with a double-digit organic revenue jump. The firm, citing a “well-oriented economic environment,” also reiterated its objective of a “very significant” increase in profits for the full year.

For the nine months, group sales rose 10.7 percent to 10.626 billion euros and all business units, except selective retailing, posted double-digit gains.

Sales through Sept. 30 increased 12.5 percent to 1.894 billion for wines and spirits; 10.2 percent to 3.729 billion euros for fashion and leather goods; 11.9 percent to 1.807 billion euros for perfumes and cosmetics; 21.6 percent to 489 million euros for watches and jewelry; and 6.6 percent to 2.722 billion euros for selective retailing.

For complete coverage see tomorrow's issue of WWD.

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