PARIS — Hermès International posted a 9.7 percent sales gain in the second quarter, defying a drop in demand for luxury goods in Asia.
Revenues totaled 1.17 billion euros, or $1.3 billion, during the three-month period. The 9.7 percent gain, stripped of the effects of currency fluctuations, compared with growth of 8 percent in the first quarter of 2015 and with a 12 percent increase in the same quarter last year.
On a reported basis, sales jumped 22.2 percent in the second quarter as all major regions recorded gains.
Sales in Asia Pacific, excluding Japan, rose 6 percent during the period, despite what Hermès called a “difficult context” in Hong Kong and Macau. Japan posted a 26.5 percent increase, while the Americas logged a 10.9 percent gain. Revenues in France were up 6.8 percent, while the rest of Europe recorded a 10.9 percent increase.
The French luxury house said it was maintaining its guidance for a sales increase of 8 percent at constant exchange rates in the medium-term. The company is scheduled to publish results for the first semester on Aug. 28.
“As a result of the weaker euro, the operational profitability should be down slightly in comparison with the first half of 2014,” it said.
Leather goods and saddlery remained the principal drivers of growth, rising 14.9 percent at constant exchange rates in the second quarter as Hermès continued to increase production capacity at two new sites that opened in June.
On Monday, it outlined plans to hire 150 people at its small leather goods workshop in the Eure region, which will move into new premises at the end of 2016. Hermès will relocate its glove-making plant in the Haute-Vienne region in early 2017 and hire an extra 70 workers there to expand output to small leather goods.
Sales of ready-to-wear and fashion accessories rose 6.4 percent in the second quarter, silk and textiles grew 3.2 percent, perfumes progressed 6.8 percent and watches edged up 1.2 percent after several consecutive quarters of decline. Sales of other Hermès products, which include jewelry and home wares, rose 15.2 percent.
Sales for the luxury house’s other divisions – including John Lobb shoes, Saint-Louis glassware, Puiforcat silverware, Chinese luxury brand Shang Xia and production activities for third parties – were down 5 percent in the quarter.