Byline: Godfrey Deeny

PARIS--Consolidated net sales of LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton surged 19.6 percent in the first half, with the conglomerate's leather goods and luggage business leading the advance.
Group sales totaled $2.18 billion (12 billion francs) in the six months ending June 30, compared with $1.8 billion (10.03 billion francs) in the same period a year earlier.
Excluding currency effects, the rise in net would have been 13.7 percent, LVMH said in a statement. The group did not release profit figures for the period.
LVMH, Europe's largest luxury goods concern, controls Louis Vuitton and Loewe International; the fashion and fragrance business of Kenzo, Givenchy and Christian Lacroix; Parfums Christian Dior and Guerlain; Hennessy and Hine brandy, and one quarter of French champagne output with brands like Moæt et Chandon, Veuve Clicquot and Dom Perignon.
Luggage and leather goods volume rose to $580 million (3.18 billion francs), up 31 percent from $442 million (2.4 billion francs).
LVMH said that since the second quarter of 1993, this division "has continued to enjoy significant growth in all markets, which current production is not always able to meet."
Sales of perfumes and beauty products gained 8 percent to $562 million (3.09 billion francs), compared with $520 million (2.85 billion francs) in 1993.
First-half figures include results of Kenzo, which LVMH bought last year, but exclude the May acquisition of Guerlain, which will be consolidated in the second half of this year.
Cognac and spirits sales advanced 11.5 percent to $518 million (2.8 billion francs) from $464 million (2.55 billion francs). Champagne and wine sales grew 6.5 percent to $349 million (1.9 billion francs) from $328 million (1.8 billion francs), confirming the recovery in the champagne market that began late last year, LVMH noted.
Other items totaled $172.9 million (951 million francs), 2 1/2 times the previous result. These items include the group's interests in horticulture and, for the first time, LVMH's fashion holdings in Givenchy, Kenzo and Lacroix. Separate figures for these houses were not made available.

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