Full-year sales and profit fall at LVMH despite strong fourth quarter

By Katie Nichol

- Last updated on GMT

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Despite a strong fourth quarter and increased sales in Asia, 2009 saw an overall drop in revenue and profit at luxury goods company LVMH.

The company reported 2009 revenues of €17.1bn ($23.5bn), a drop of 1 per cent compared with the previous year. Group net profit also fell from €2bn to €1.7bn; a decrease of 13 per cent.

During the fourth quarter, all business segments saw what LVMH termed a ‘significant improvement’, with revenue for the fourth quarter coming in at €5.1bn, just slightly lower than the €5.2bn recorded for the same period in 2008.

Perfumes and Cosmetics division

Breaking the results down by business segment, the Perfumes and Cosmetics division outperformed both Wines and Spirits and Watches and Jewelry, but still posted a 4 percent drop in revenue, recording a figure of €2.7bn for the year.

However, the fourth quarter saw a return to growth, according to the company, with organic revenue increasing by 2 per cent.

Parfums Christian Dior increased its market share through the popularity of the J’adore perfume and strong performances from Miss Dior Chérie, Eau Sauvage and Diorskin Nude.

Selected perfumes in the Guerlain and Givenchy ranges also contributed to sales within the segment, with the company noting that the international expansion of cosmetics brand Benefit contributed considerably to its progress.

Growth at Sephora

The company’s Selective Retailing group, which includes cosmetic and perfume retailer Sephora, was outperformed only by Fashion and Leather Goods, reporting revenue of €4.5bn for the year; an increase of 4 per cent.

As a result of continued growth in its store network, Sephora gained market share in all countries in which it is present, said LVMH. In terms of online sales, fast growth was seen particularly in France, China and the US.

Commenting on the results, company chairman and CEO Bernard Arnault said that the company demonstrated ‘exceptional resilience’ in 2009, a year which has been difficult for many luxury retailers.

“Sustained by its sound strategy, LVMH is ideally positioned to benefit from the recovery and to continue in 2010 to strengthen its leadership in the global luxury goods sector,” ​he said in a statement.

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