Luxury giant LVMH sales, profit hit new highs
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The world's top luxury group LVMH said Thursday that its sales and net profit both hit new heights last year, driven by strong demand in Europe, the United States and Japan.
Sales soared 23 percent to 79 billion euros ($86 billion) and net profit jumped 17 percent to 14 billion euros for 2022 -- both new records for the group, whose brands include Bulgari, Givenchy, Louis Vuitton and TAG Heuer.
"Europe, the United States and Japan rose sharply, benefiting from strong demand from local customers and the recovery of international travel. Asia was stable over the year due to developments in the health situation in China," LVMH said in a statement.
"With the month of January having started well and despite an uncertain geopolitical and economic environment, LVMH is confident in its ability to continue the growth observed in 2022."
LVMH is headed by French billionaire Bernard Arnault, who overtook Tesla and Twitter boss Elon Musk as the world's richest man late last year.
The maker of champagne, handbags, jewellery and other luxury goods is Europe's most valuable company, with a market capitalisation that soared to 400 billion euros ($430 billion) last week.
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'Difficult' December in China
Sales in its flagship division of fashion and leather goods increased 25 percent, while for watches and jewellery they grew 18 percent, the group said.
High-end jeweller Tiffany, which was bought by LVMH in 2021, saw a record year, it added without giving a breakdown of its sales.
Wines and spirits also saw strong growth last year.
"We had a very difficult month of December in China," LVMH chief financial officer Jean-Jacques Guiony told reporters.
He said the situation had improved, although he did not see Chinese tourists returning to Europe "straight away".
LVMH will pay shareholders a dividend of 12 euros per share, up from 10 euros the previous year.
"LVMH is the jewel in luxury’s crown. Bernard Arnault's empire has seen its valuation swell over 200 percent in the last five years, and momentum doesn't appear to be running out," said Sophie Lund-Yates, lead equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown.
Arnault, 73, has reshuffled the company's leadership in recent months, appointing his children to top jobs as the family tightens its hold on LVMH, a group born from the 1987 merger of trunk-maker Louis Vuitton and the wines and spirits group Moet Hennessy.
His eldest son, Antoine Arnault, was named CEO of holding company Christian Dior SE, which controls LVMH, in December, and also holds other positions within the group.
Earlier this month, he announced that his daughter, Delphine Arnault, would take over as head of the Dior perfume and fashion brand on February 1.
Dior's current chief executive, Pietro Beccari, will take the reins of Louis Vuitton, the world's leading luxury brand in terms of sales, famous for its handbags bedecked with the initials "LV".
Alexandre Arnault is an executive vice president at jewellery brand Tiffany, while his brother Frederic is CEO of watchmaker Tag Heuer.
Another son, Jean Arnault, is director of watch development and marketing at Louis Vuitton.
LVMH boasts more than 75 brands, including fashion firm Kenzo and champagne maker Moet et Chandon.