Byline: Robert Murphy

PARIS — Sales at Christian Dior Couture soared 42 percent in the first half of the year to $127 million, up from $90 million a year ago, the company said Monday. (Figures are translated from the euro at current exchange.)
“Sales of ready-to-wear and leather goods are up considerably thanks to the success of John Galliano’s collections,” Dior said in a statement.
The bullish global economy and the introduction of new accessories — especially handbags — were cited as key drivers of the sales increase, according to Denis Dalibot, chief financial officer of Groupe Christian Dior SA, one of the holding companies through which Bernard Arnault controls LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton.
Dalibot added that Dior expects to sustain the sales momentum into the second half as the fashion house opens new shops and adds to its shoe line. Dior is slated to open 14 new boutiques by yearend, bringing its total of wholly-owned units to 105. The firm inaugurated six new doors in the first half, Dalibot said.
Dior’s strong sales in the half reflected those of LVMH, which, as previously reported, increased 40 percent to $4.8 billion in the first half of 2000.
“Based on its strong sales, Groupe Christian Dior expects to reach its goal of at least 20 percent operating profit for 2000,” the statement said.
Groupe Christian Dior includes Dior Couture and LVMH brands such as Louis Vuitton, Celine and Givenchy.
Earnings for the group will be released in September, the company said. LVMH’s first-half earnings are due on Sept. 14.

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