LVMH continued its excellent momentum in the first quarter of this year by recording a 25 percent increase in total revenues to €6,582 million, with organic growth of 14 percent. Representing an acceleration compared with the 12 percent growth rate registered in the fourth quarter of 2011 on an organic basis, the overall sales increase surprised financial analysts.

Wines & spirits, watches & jewelry, and selective retailing grew faster than the group's fashion and leathergoods segment, whose sales rose by 17 percent to €2,374 million. Its organic increase of 12 percent during the latest quarter was down from the growth rate of 18 percent of the previous quarter. Louis Vuitton continued to drive the segment, but Fendi, Céline and Givenchy performed well, too.

The management noted that its sales in Europe continued to grow by 10 percent, in spite of the difficult economic environment. Sales increased by 17 percent in Asia excluding Japan, but sales in Japan went up by 12 percent, recovering from the effects of the March 2011 tsunami.

As for Hermès, its consolidated revenues rose at an even higher rate of 17.6 percent on a currency-neutral basis in the first quarter, with increases of 22 percent in Asia outside Japan, 14 percent in France, 27 percent in the rest of Europe and 11 percent in the Americas. Sales in Japan grew by 7 percent.

All business segments contributed to the quarterly growth. In particular, ready-to-wear and fashion accessories recorded an increase of 20 percent, overtaking the 14 percent growth rate of the company's silk, textiles, leatherwork and saddlery sector. Jewelry and art of living registered the highest growth at 46 percent.

Retail and wholesale revenues increased by 17 and 19.7 percent, respectively, at constant exchange rates. In absolute terms, total revenues went up by 21.9 percent to €776.9 million.