LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton is a model for so much of fashion.
It takes its branding and luxury seriously — and on both points it goes deep, nurturing businesses for the very long term and thinking strategically.
Bernard Arnault, chairman and chief executive officer, describes the business in his letter to shareholders in the firm’s annual report this way: “A shared passion to achieve and inspire drives all our maisons, and thrives within each of them. It is reflected in the myriad ways they blend tradition with modernity, and excellence with responsibility. They all have a single ambition: to evoke emotion and imagination with artisanal products that are ever more beautiful, exquisitely crafted, and unique.”
Arnault is talking about the brands that make up the company, but he could be talking about the company itself as well, which is constantly blending the old with the new.
It is perhaps the most-prominent group of brands in the industry — from the flagship Moët Hennessy and Louis Vuitton brands through to Rimowa, Fendi, Celine, Christian Dior Couture, Givenchy, Sephora, Marc Jacobs, Kat Von D and Fenty Beauty by Rihanna — as well as the star’s new fashion line.
And while much of the industry was fretting over younger consumers shifting away from buying things and investing instead in experiences, LVMH last year cut a $2.6 billion deal to buy prestige hotel group Belmond.
Even though LMVH’s annual report was published online this spring, when the 135-page business and branding tome thuds on one’s desk in its hardback form — with a photo of Jennifer Lawrence on the cover — the smaller details stand out.
The financials were already well known — a 10 percent rise in revenues last year to 46 billion euros and a 21 percent increase in profits from recurring operations to 10 million euros.
But that’s just part of the story, the part that investors can’t get enough of. The other details that show the company’s size and also the information that LVMH tracks, catalogues and chooses to reveal is in many ways just as telling. The group believes in the power of scale, in training, in longevity, in history — and Arnault believes in retaining control of the empire he built.
Here, 15 facts from the company’s annual report that prove the devil’s in the details:
1. The LVMH maison with the deepest roots: Le Clos des Lambrays vineyard, established in 1365.
2. The newest LVMH maison listed in the report: Fenty Beauty by Rihanna, established 2017.
3. 4,592: The number of stores.
4. 156,088: The number of employees.
5. 73 percent: Portion of employees who are women.
6. 52 percent: Portion of employees who are Millennials.
7. 7 percent: Portion of workforce over 55 years old.
8. 40,000: The number of employees recruited in 2018.
9. 7,300-plus: The number of interns recruited in 2018.
10. 131 million euros: The amount invested in training.
11. 64.9 million: Bottles of Champagne sold.
12. 93.3 million: Bottles of Cognac sold.
13. 8 million euros: The amount donated to help the Louvre acquire King François I’s Book of Hours.
14. 39 percent: Portion of LVMH revenues that come from the fashion and leather goods division.
15. 63.3 percent: Portion of LVMH’s voting rights held by the Arnault family group.