LVMH reports a 19% income gain; watches and jewelry drop 3%

LVMH (Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton), one of the world’s leading luxury product groups, on Thursday reported a 19% gain in operating income to $815.9 million (840 million Euros) for the first half of 2002. Total sales of its business groups rose 2.3% to almost $5.7 billion (5.8 billion Euros).

Bernard Arnault, chairman and CEO of the French luxury goods group, called the first half results “very encouraging” and indicate 2002 as a whole will be “an excellent year for LVMH in spite of the uncertain economic environment.”

The sales gains were primarily in its wine and spirits, and fashion and leather good divisions.

However, sales for LVMH’s watches and jewelry group, posted a 3% loss. That was largely due to “the ending of manufacturing for brands outside the [LVMH] Group,” said LVMH’s report. The group is still in the process of being “strategically repositioned,” it noted.

Sales of individual LVMH brands grew 2%, despite the depressed market, with Chaumet and Christian Dior perfuming “extremely well,” noted the report.

LVMH says it will launch “a number of new watch collections” in the second half of 2002.