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Hermès reports sales growth despite dip in Asia



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Credits: Image: Hermès store front by Tsing Lim for Hermès

French luxury group Hermes, known for its leather bags and silk scarves, on Tuesday said it continued to see sales growth in the third quarter despite a dip in Asia.

The 7.3-percent rise in overall sales in the third quarter from the same period last year to 3.4 billion euros (3.6 billion dollars) narrowly beat analyst expectations.

The performance also beat luxury sector leader LVMH, which reported flat sales between July and September after having posted double-digit growth in the first two quarters of the year.

Luxury industry immune to dip in consumer consumption

The luxury industry had previously seemed impervious to the crimp in consumer consumption as inflation soared and interest rates climbed. Chief executive Axel Dumas said Hermes continued to enjoy "sustained momentum" in third-quarter sales, but the performance was still a slowdown from the 22-percent increase registered in the first half of the year.

Sales in most regions of the world still posted double-digit gains: 10 percent in Japan, 11.9 percent in the Americas and 16.4 percent in Europe. Sales in Asia outside Japan dipped 0.1 percent in the third quarter, but the company said this is partially due to an exceptional performance last year due to Covid restrictions being lifted in China setting off a surge in spending.

"Despite the macroeconomic difficulties China is confronted with in the short term, we consider its medium to long-term development potential remains strong," said Hermes' chief financial officer, Eric du Halgouet, during a conference call with journalists.

He expressed confidence that growth would pick up again in the country as middle-class incomes rise, and said Hermes would continue to invest in China at the same pace with the opening of one or two new stores per year. Asia, and China in particular, has become a key growth area for luxury firms in the past decade.

"More than ever, in an uncertain global environment, we are reinforcing our investments and our teams to support growth," Dumas said.(AFP)