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By
Reuters
Published
Apr 19, 2011
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LVMH Q1 sales rise beats forecasts

By
Reuters
Published
Apr 19, 2011

April 18 - LVMH, the world's biggest luxury group, posted a 17 percent rise in first-quarter sales on Monday that beat analysts' expectations despite the earthquake disaster in key luxury market Japan.

LVMH
Louis Vuitton shop in Omotesando district of Tokyo

The owner of handbag maker Louis Vuitton, Hennessy cognac and Moet & Chandon champagne had sales of 5.25 billion euros ($7.53 billion) in the three months to March 31. The average estimate in a Reuters poll of nine analysts was 4.97 billion.

"All business groups recorded double-digit organic revenue growth in the quarter," including Louis Vuitton, LVMH said in a statement that cited strong momentum in the United States, Europe and Asia.

The wines and spirits and watches and jewellery divisions "continued their strong recovery due to a confirmed return in client demand", LVMH said.

At its annual general meeting on March 31, LVMH said it expected the impact of Japan's woes on overall annual sales to be limited. Japan accounts for 9 percent of group revenue.

LVMH
Customers admire the artwork by Japanese artist Takeshi Murakami at the Louis Vuitton store in the Aoyama fashion district of Tokyo

The company did not give any further details in its statement on Monday. LVMH is due to hold a conference call on its sales on Tuesday at 1300 GMT.

UK luxury competitor Burberry is due to give a second-half trading update on Tuesday, while L'Oreal, which competes with LVMH in perfumes and cosmetics, is expected to report first-quarter sales.

LVMH provided no forecasts, but said key priorities for the year will be brand development, cost controls and targetted investments.

In March, LVMH agreed to acquire Italian jeweller Bulgari for 3.7 billion euros in a deal analysts said sent a message to luxury peer Hermes that LVMH could make a friendly deal. LVMH owns more than 20 percent of Hermes.

(Reporting by James Regan; Editing by Christian Plumb)

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