LVMH 2008 Jewelry, Watch Sales Up 6%

LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, the world’s leading luxury products group, reported Thursday a revenue increase of 4 percent to 17.2 billion euros ($22.1 billion) in 2008. Organic revenue grew 7 percent for the year. Fourth-quarter revenue rose 4 percent to 5.2 billion euros ($6.7 billion).

Profit from recurring operations rose by 2 percent to 3.6 million euros ($4.6 million) for 2008, ended Dec. 31, the Paris-based company said. At constant exchange rates, profit from recurring operations increased by 6 percent in 2008.

Group share of net profit was flat compared to 2007 and came to just over 2 million euros ($2.58 million).

“The 2008 results demonstrate the exceptional reactivity of our organization in this period of economic crisis,” said Bernard Arnault, LVMH chairman and chief executive officer. “The Group has always emerged stronger from previous economic downturns thanks to the dynamic innovation of its brands, the quality of its products, and the effectiveness of its teams. LVMH approaches the challenges and the opportunities of 2009 with confidence and determination and has set the objective of increasing its leadership position in the worldwide luxury goods sector.”

Jewelry and watch sales for the 2008 year rose 6 percent for the year to 879 million euros ($1.1 billion). Operating profit for this category declined 16 percent to 118 million euros ($151.7 million).

Watches and jewelry sales slowed in the last quarter of 2008, after nine months of growth, LVMH said. Good performance in Europe and Asia compensated in part for the slowdown in the American and Japanese markets.

TAG Heuer continued its worldwide roll-out of the Grand Carrera collections and launched a new range of high-end luxury mobile phones. At Montres Dior, automatic models have enhanced the Christal line, while Zenith strengthened its Manufacture Horlogère position.

The company purchased Hublot in 2008 and said with the help of the watch brand’s Big Bang collection, saw double-digit revenue growth in all of its markets. Chaumet strengthened its jewelry lines Liens and Attrape-Moi. Fred confirmed the success of Force 10 and De Beers expanded its network of stores.