Strong first quarter for LVMH’s watches and jewelry business

LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, the world’s leading luxury products group, had organic sales growth of 11% in the first quarter of 2005, with consolidated sales reaching $4 billion, the company said Wednesday. The reported growth for the company, when exchange rates are taken into account, is 10% for the period.

The Watches & Jewelry business group followed its strong progress in 2004 by recording strong organic sales growth of 21% for the first quarter 2005, with consolidated sales of $158 million, the company said. The reported growth for the business group was 8% for the period.

TAG Heuer and Zenith grew at double-digit rates despite a strong comparison period last year, the company said. Chaumet and Fred also had a good start to the year. The Group’s brands did particularly well in the US, Asia and in France.

“Within an unfavourable monetary environment, the tourism sector has witnessed a sustained recovery and both the U.S. and Asian economies are in full expansion,” the company said in a statement. “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. Progress in each of these areas enables the Group to confirm its objective of another tangible increase in operating income for 2005.”