LVMH CITES DFS GROUP FOR QUARTER VOLUME RISE

PARIS — Thanks to its majority stake in travel retailer DFS Group, acquired in January, net sales of LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton in the first quarter, ended March 31, rose 68 percent to $1.87 billion (10.86 billion francs) at current exchange.
On a constant structural basis — excluding DFS — consolidated sales would have increased 10.4 percent, the firm said. It did not report profits.
A year earlier, LVMH’s sales in the quarter came to 6.46 billion francs.
In breaking out sales by product category, the luxury goods conglomerate regrouped the fashion sales of Kenzo, Givenchy and Christian Lacroix plus the sales of Fred the Jeweler in with those of Louis Vuitton Malletier. This group also includes the Celine fashion and leather goods, consolidated with sales of Vuitton last year. Sales for this enlarged group — now known as luggage and fashion — rose 26.7 percent to $528.9 million (3.08 billion francs) from 2.43 billion francs a year ago, restated for the regrouping.
Sales of luggage and leather goods alone increased 34 percent, LVMH noted. Growth was primarily due to gains posted by Louis Vuitton in all of its markets, LVMH said.
The fashion businesses and Fred were previously lumped into a category called “other activities.”
Sales for the perfume activities of Christian Dior, Guerlain, Givenchy and Kenzo, as well as the recently integrated sales of DFS, were combined under the heading “selective distribution of luxury products.” Sales for these goods rose 193.5 percent to $937 million (5.46 billion francs) in the quarter, thanks mainly to DFS’s sales contribution, which totaled $614.1 million (3.58 billion francs).
An LVMH spokeswoman said the rearrangement of operations in the group’s financial reporting was due to the consolidation of DFS, in which LVMH holds a 61.25 percent interest. LVMH’s accountants felt it was more logical to include DFS sales with those of beauty and perfumes and to bring fashion and accessories together, she said.
In other product categories, champagne and wine sales in the three months rose 14 percent to $181 million (1.05 billion francs), due mainly to increased volume in the U.S. Strong American sales also boosted cognac and spirits sales, which rose 9 percent to $214.7 million (1.25 billion francs).
Revenues for other activities — the operations of French business publications La Tribune Desfosses and Investir, and the elimination of inter-company sales — dropped significantly for the first quarter to $3.9 million (23 million francs) from 96 million francs for the same period in 1996.

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