LVMH’S BEAUTIFUL RESULTS: With its beauty group pacing gains, LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton reported Wednesday that sales in 1994 rose 17.4 percent to $5.3 billion (28 billion francs).
The preliminary sales figures, the firm said, enable it to confirm its forecast of a profit gain of more than 20 percent for 1994. In 1993, LVMH earned 3.6 billion francs on sales of 23.8 billion francs. Final figures for 1994 will be reported March 23.
The company said the sales growth was achieved in all product categories.
Sales for perfumes and other beauty products rose 25 percent last year to $1.5 billion (7.7 billion francs). The firm attributed the gains in part to the launches of Parfums Christian Dior’s Tendre Poison fragrance and Hydra Star skin care line; Parfums Givenchy’s Fleur d’Interdit, and Kenzo’s Kashâya.
Luggage and leather goods had an 18.5 percent sales gain to $1.3 billion (6.7 billion francs). The firm cited the strong sales of Louis Vuitton’s Taòga men’s leather goods line.
While fashion sales figures were not broken out, LVMH noted the successful launch for Christian Lacroix’s Bazar collection.
In LVMH’s other businesses, champagne sales, a problem in the last couple of years, rose 5 percent to $1.1 billion (5.7 billion francs). Sales of cognac and spirits increased 2.4 percent to more than $1.1 billion (6 billion francs).
Looking at the current year, the company said it expects to achieve sales gains in the U.S. and Asia and is hoping for a strong increase in what has been a lackluster European market. Louis Vuitton, it noted, is building a factory whose capacity will help the company meet rising demand. Sales in this luxury leather goods business are expected to continue their strong upward trend.
All fashion and beauty divisions are expected to have strong sales, with most units planning product launches this year. The company said its position in prestige fragrances has been strengthened by the acquisitions of Guerlain and Kenzo.
SIMINT SLIMMING DOWN — Simint SpA, the sportswear maker that produces the Armani jeans line, has sold its stake in the lingerie group Intimo 3 to the La Perla group. Simint said the divestment was part of a restructuring strategy to focus on its core sportswear business; the Intimo 3 stake wasn’t considered strategic anymore. Although financial details of the transaction weren’t disclosed, the stake has been valued at about $1 million (1.7 billion lire). La Perla, which already controlled 58 percent of Intimo 3, now holds 92 percent of the lingerie producer and retail chain.
KENZO CALLING — Kenzo is hoping to open a U.S. flagship in New York next fall and is negotiating to lease a space of about 2,200 square feet, according to Christine Macella, the director of Kenzo stores worldwide. “I think we can bring something new to the U.S., which is a very tough market,” she said, but she wouldn’t reveal the store’s location. The new store is supposed to be part of a major push by Kenzo into the U.S. market that will start with the upcoming fall/winter 1995 collections.
Meanwhile, Kenzo is opening a new 3,500-square-foot women’s store just off Place de la Madeleine here and doubling the size of its men’s store in the Trois Quartiers shopping center across the street. “The Madeleine is becoming an important shopping area here,” said Macella, referring to stores such as Cerruti, Ralph Lauren’s flagship, the Eres swimwear shop and the new Et Vous men’s and women’s shops.
DEADLINE FOR GALERIAS — The Spanish Ministry of Commerce has given potential bidders for Galerias Preciados, the financially troubled department store chain, until Feb. 15 to submit offers. The ministry said it then will try to pick a winner by March 15. Bidders already include the Mexican companies Autrey, a distributor of pharmaceuticals and petrochemicals, and Domit, a shoe manufacturer, which have made a joint offer that includes a capital injection of about $70 million. Others said to be interested are Jose Luis Dominguez, a Spanish businessman, and a group of Galerias vendors brought together by Madrid’s regional government. Galerias, which is Spain’s second-largest department store chain after El Corte Ingles, is expected to lose about $91.7 million (12.1 billion pesetas) on sales of $568.2 million (75 billion pesetas) this year. It filed for protection from its creditors in December.