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LVMH, Polo Nets Rise; Arnault Upbeat

LVMH chief feels effect of U.S. recession likely to be “limited, weak or even nonexistent,” while Polo heralds increasingly global business.

An upbeat Bernard Arnault trumpeted a note of confidence for luxury in reporting that LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton surpassed net profits of 2 billion euros, or $2.74 billion, in 2007 as sales of pink Champagne, checkered leather goods and perfumes accelerated at the end of the year.

Meanwhile, Polo Ralph Lauren on Wednesday posted third-quarter results that bested the year-ago period.

    

Disclosing LVMH’s sales and profits at a news conference in Paris Wednesday morning, Arnault, chief executive of LVMH, cited double-digit organic sales growth across all businesses in January, in line with a strong December, and said the impact of a U.S. recession is likely to be “limited, weak or even non-existent” for the world’s biggest luxury player.

 

“We are relatively confident regarding the year,” Arnault said, adding economic gyrations are “not likely to lead to major consequences.”

 

LVMH said 2007 revenues rose 8 percent to 16.48 billion euros, or $22.59 billion, while the group’s share of net profit increased 8 percent to 2.03 billion euros, or $2.77 billion at current exchange.

 

At Polo, income was $113 million, or $1.08 a diluted share, versus $111 million, or $1.03, a year ago. Total revenues rose 11 percent to $1.27 billion from $1.14 billion. "The talent of our creative and managerial teams and our increasingly global reach are enviable assets that position us well for long-term growth," said Ralph Lauren, chairman and ceo.

 

For complete coverage, see Thursday's WWD.

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