PARIS — Racing to meet consumer demand for its status handbags, Hermès said it will open two more leather goods workshops in France within the next five years, adding 500 more artisans to its payroll.
These are in addition to three other sites already under construction in France, “for which recruitment and training are ongoing,” the company said in a statement on Tuesday.
Investors were spooked last month when Hermès reported a 5.4 percent dip in fourth-quarter revenues in leather goods and saddlery, which it blamed on production constraints and depleted inventories.
Last year, the brand touted “very sustained” interest in its classic Birkin and Kelly handbags, and demand for new models like the Della Cavalleria and the 24/24, with its twist closure.
It is forecasting a 6 to 7 percent increase in production capacity in 2022 at its 52 sites in France.
The two new leather goods workshops announced on Tuesday will be located in Charente, in the municipality of L’Isle-d’Espagnac, and in Gironde, in the municipality of Loupes, and are slated to open in 2025 and 2026, respectively. They will bring to 24 the number of production sites in France for the leather goods and saddlery division.
L’École Hermès des Savoir-faire — the company’s apprenticeship training center accredited by French National Education authority — will expand to the new regions this year and in 2023 to train apprentices in leather goods know-how.
Hermès has opened nine leather workshops in France since 2010, bringing the number of specialist workers to more than 4,300.
The company reported “exceptional” growth in 2021 that pushed it close to 9 billion euros in revenues, further confirming the buoyancy of the sector.
Leather goods and saddlery is its biggest product sector, with revenues vaulting 28.9 percent last year to 4.09 billion euros, accounting for about 45.5 percent of the total business.