LVMH first quarter watch and jewelry sales grew 23 percent

Strong watch sales helped LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA to record a 15 percent increase in first-quarter sales, the Paris-based luxury goods company said Thursday.

The company said revenue rose to $4.4 billion in the quarter from $3.8 billion a year earlier. Sales at its Watches & Jewelry division increased 23 percent compared to the same period last year, which was also strong. All regions did very well. The Basel International Watch Fair saw the launch of the latest models from TAG Heuer, Zenith and Montres Dior, which resulted in a marked increase in orders, the company said in a statement.

The company added that all business groups and all regions recorded strong progress, continuing the trends observed in 2005.

“With a less unfavorable monetary environment, strong growth in the American and Asian economies, and some European markets confirming their recovery, LVMH will continue to pursue growth in 2006 thanks to the strength of its brands, new product launches and penetration of new markets,” the company said. “Increasing market share and the profitability of our leading brands as well as improving the performance of our developing companies and cash generation, remain LVMH’s top priorities. All of these elements allow us to confirm the objective of a very significant growth in the Group’s results for 2006.”