LVMH Profits Up 24%; Watches, Jewelry Decline

French luxury goods maker LVMH (Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton) says its 2003 first-half profit rose 24% to 265 million euros (US$297 million), driven by its leather goods segment and lower financial costs. Revenue fell 10% to 5.24 billion euros (US$5.86 billion), while operating profit rose 4% to 874 million euros (US$980 million). Vuitton leather goods brands typically generate about two-thirds of the company’s overall profit.

However, the firm’s watch and jewelry business struggled in a weak market, with an operating loss of 38 million euros (US$42.5 million), up from 7 million euros in 2002.

LVMH cut costs in its selective retail segment, which includes duty-free stores operator DFS. That trimmed its operating loss to 15 million euros (US$16.8 million) in the first half, down from 39 million euros last year.

LVMH expected “tangible growth in operating profit” for the full year, with a series of new product launches planned for the second half.