By  on August 3, 2009

PARIS — Christian Dior SA on Friday reported lower first-half net profits amid tough markets for luxury goods and against a strong performance in 2008.

The Paris-based company said net profits dropped 27 percent to 709 million euros, or $943 million, in the six months ended June 30 from 974 million euros, or $1.49 billion, on sales down 0.2 percent to 8.13 billion euros, or $10.8 billion.

Sales in the second quarter declined 0.5 percent to 3.95 billion euros, or $5.37 billion, as retailers reduced their orders amid a slowdown in consumer demand. On the other hand, brands sold through Dior’s own stores performed better than brands sold through distributors.

All dollar figures have been converted at average exchange rates for the periods to which they refer.

Christian Dior operates through three units: wholly owned Christian Dior Couture and Financière Jean Goujon, as well as a 42.4 percent stake in LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, the world’s largest luxury goods maker by revenue.

Christian Dior Couture’s half-year revenues were 340 million euros, or $452 million, representing a decrease of 7 percent compared with the same period in 2008. The decline reflected a slowdown in the U.S. and Japan, which are still feeling the effects of the economic crisis. Revenues in Europe were resilient, particularly in the U.K., and showed strong growth in China.

Turning to the remainder of the year, Christian Dior said it expects to continue to gain market share, helped by several product launches planned by the end of the year, the expansion into growing markets and cost management.

Christian Dior shares closed up 0.4 percent at 60.90 euros, or $85.63, Friday on the Paris Bourse.

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