Hermes sales surge in Asia, slump in Japan

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French luxury giant Hermes on Thursday reported strong growth in sales in the first quarter boosted largely by a 44.8-percent rise in Asia without Japan, where sales dropped 4.6 percent.

The legendary handbag and fashion accessories maker reported an 18.5-percent rise in overall sales to 507.7 million euros (647.9 million dollars). At constant exchange rates, the rise was even greater at 20.2 percent.

Sales were far above the forecasts from analysts polled by Dow Jones Newswires, who had been expecting a rise of 10 percent to 471.9 million euros from 428.4 million euros in the same quarter of last year.

But Hermes warned in a statement that "first-quarter sales growth cannot be extrapolated to the full year owing to the more favourable basis of comparison with the same year-ago period and to persistent economic uncertainties."

© 2010 AFP

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