Hermes reports first half sales surge

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French luxury goods group Hermes reported on Tuesday a near 23-percent surge in first half sales and doubled its revenue forecast for the year, in an indication the market for high-end products is vibrant.

Sales came to 1.0747 billion euros (1.4 billion dollars) in the January-June period, up 22.8 percent from the figure 12 months earlier, the company said, adding that it now expected sales to grow between 10 and 12 percent for the full year.

The company had previously predicted a sales increase of 5.0 percent.

The sales spurt was especially sharp in the second quarter, 27 percent, after a gain of 18.5 percent in the first.

Analysts polled by Dow Jones Newswires had foreseen increases of 19 percent in the first and second quarters.

The company said it had benefited in the first half from a weaker euro against the dollar. At constant exchange rates sales rose 20 percent.

Asia continued to be the sales driver, with first half revenue -- apart from Japan -- growing by 45 percent.

Sales rose 26 percent in the Americas and 17 percent in France.

Hermes shares were showing a gain of 2.7 percent to 117.8 euros in mid-morning trading in Paris, where the overall market was weaker.

© 2010 AFP

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