Hermes reports 55-percent profit surge
French luxury group Hermes reported on Tuesday a 55.2-percent surge in second-half profit and said it foresaw a 12-percent jump in sales this year.
Hermes, which markets high-end leather goods, textile products, perfumes and watches, said net earnings in the January-June period came to 194.6 million euros (247 million dollars).
At the operating level, earnings rose 52.4 percent to 304.5 million dollars. Operating margin was 28.3 percent against 22.8 percent in the same period of 2009, beating market expectations.
The company, which in July said it expected sales to grow between 10 and 12 percent this year, said it now foresaw a 12 percent gain in annual turnover.
Hermes head Patrick Thomas pointed to the "magificent resistance" to the economic downturn displayed in the company's traditional markets in Europe and the United States, where sales showed respective gains of 17 and 26 percent.
But he also cited "very strong growth" in continental China, Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan, which he said had become "our principal market."
The company's watch business, which suffered from the financial crisis last year, and its perfume sector recorded sales increases of 33 and 25 percent but "have still not regained the levels of 2008," Thomas said.
Hermes shares were down 2.21 percent at 143.70 euros in mid-morning trading in Paris, where the overall market was 0.97 percent in negative territory.
© 2010 AFP