Hermes says Japanese buyers boost first-quarter sales

Hermes says Japanese buyers boost first-quarter sales

PARIS - Sales in Japan helped French luxury fashion group Hermes to raise sales by 10.1 per cent in the first quarter of the year, the group known for its scarves and ties reported on Tuesday.

An "exceptional" performance in Japan boosted overall sales by comparison with the figure 12 months ago to 943.5 million euros (S$1.6 billion), the company said, but sales in Europe were affected by a gloomy economic climate.

At constant exchange rates, total sales rose by 14.7 per cent. Unfavourable exchange rates had cut sales expressed in euros by 40 million euros.

However, the performance by Hermes shop outlets had been "remarkable", boosting the overall sales figure by 16.7 per cent on a basis of constant exchange rates.

Hermes said that sales in Japan in the first quarter had benefited from buying before prices and consumer taxes went up, and this had pushed Japanese sales up by 21.7 per cent at constant rates, and by 5.8 per cent at current exchange rates to a total of 116.7 million euros.

In Asia, excluding Japan, sales rose by 17.7 per cent to 329.3 million euros, or by 12.8 per cent at current exchange rates.

In China, where several luxury products groups have suffered from an anti-corruption clampdown on ostentatious entertainment and spending, sales had risen, Hermes said without providing details.

Markets in North America had shown their potential, since sales there had risen by 17.9 per cent to 150.1 million euros, or by 12.9 per cent at current rates.

In Europe sales rose by 7.9 per cent to 329.2 million euros.

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