Hermès Q1 Sales Leap 13.4 Percent

Luxury house strong in all regions and segments, aided by new Wall Street store.

PARIS – Proving itself a luxury thoroughbred, Hermès International said first-quarter sales accelerated 13.4 percent to 415.1 million euros, or $621.7 million at average exchange rates, with robust performances across all key product categories and regions.

At constant exchange, sales in the Americas surged 23 percent, boosted partly by the Wall Street location that opened last June. The French luxury firm also showed good resistance to the weak Japanese market, with like-for-like sales there improving 4.2 percent.

Mireille Maury, managing director of finance and administration, told WWD sales trends in April remained strong, but the firm did not change its guidance of 10 percent organic sales growth for the full year.

She credited a steady program of store openings and enlargements last year for the gains, and noted Hermès would open or expand some 25 branches this year, with its first location in India, in New Delhi's Oberoi hotel, slated to open its doors next week.

Sales of leather handbags jumped 25 percent, partly due to an easy basis of comparison and hot styles such as the Lindy and Victoria. Silks, perfumes, ready-to-wear and fashion accessories all logged strong double-digit gains.

The results match a strong showing by many of Europe's main luxury players, including LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton, Compagnie Financiere Richemont, Burberry and Swatch, despite widespread economic turbulence.

For complete coverage, see Thursday's issue of WWD.
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