Like Gucci at Kering, the flagship brand of LVMH seems to have reached the limits of growth, at least momentarily. Without disclosing a specific figure, company officials were quoted as saying that Louis Vuitton's sales were slightly lower than those of the entire Fashion & Leathergoods division of LVMH, whose sales fell by 3.8 percent in the third quarter ended Sept. 30. On an organic and currency-neutral basis, they were up by only 3 percent.
The company explained that Vuitton continued to implement a strategy of “very high product quality and distribution excellence.” It added that its latest leathergoods products have been very successful.
Financial analysts, who had expected the division to deliver 7 percent higher revenues than a year ago, downgraded the stock market value of LVMH, as Vuitton alone tends to generate about half of the profits of the whole group.
For the first nine months of this year, the division's sales declined by 1 percent to €7,139 million. They were up by only 4 percent on an organic basis, compared with growth of 5 percent for the first six months alone.
Within the division, other brands such as Céline and Fendi continued to enjoy a strong momentum. The Watches & Jewelry division suffered a lower decline in the third quarter than in the first half of this year. However, other division continued to perform well.
For the whole group, sales increased by 4 percent to €20.7 billion in reported terms for the first nine months of this year, but were up by 8 percent on an organic basis. They rose in the quarter by 2 percent in euros and by 8 percent in terms of constant currencies and structures.
The Christian Dior Group, which controls LVMH, recorded increases of 2 percent in euros and 9 percent in local currencies for the latest quarter, as the Christian Dior brand performed a little better than the balance of LVMH. Its sales grew by 14 percent to €369 million in the quarter, with a rise of 19 percent in local currencies. Its retail sales jumped by 16 percent in euros and by 23 percent on a currency-neutral basis.