NEW YORK — The Christian Dior Couture business finished on a dramatic uptick in 1999, and the momentum has only grown this year.
That was the principal message of a communique issued by Christian Dior Groupe as it reported Friday that consolidated group sales rose 39.5 percent to $2.36 billion during the first quarter ended March 31.
Dollar figures have been converted from the euro at current exchange.
In addition to being the parent of Christian Dior Couture, the group is the holding company through which Bernard Arnault controls LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton. In the first quarter, LVMH accounted for 97 percent of group revenues, about $2.29 billion.
However, the Dior Couture business also showed impressive strength, albeit at a far lower order of magnitude. Christian Dior Couture revenues for the quarter were up 55 percent to $68.4 million, versus $44 million in the 1999 quarter.
“The sales growth of Christian Dior Couture, which was already strong at the end of 1999, has accelerated even more and achieved a 55 percent increase compared to the first quarter last year,” the company said. “Sales of ready-to-wear and leather goods grew significantly due to the success of the collections of John Galliano.”
As previously reported, Dior Couture had operating profits of $8.2 million last year, after posting an operating loss of $1 million in 1998. Couture sales rose 10 percent to $211 million last year, with fourth-quarter sales growing more than 30 percent above the prior year. French companies report their profits semiannually, so earnings information wasn’t available.