For the first quarter, Hermès International had reported sales increases of 10.1 percent in euros and 14.7 percent in constant currencies. The French luxury goods group has now reported sales increases of only 5.8 percent in euros and 10 percent in local currencies for the second quarter of its financial year. This led to a rise 7.9 percent for the first half to €1,907 million, with currency-neutral growth of 12 percent.

At comparable exchange rates, the group's sales rose by 6.5 percent in France and by 7.0 percent in the rest of Europe in the first six months, in spite of a difficult market environment. They continued to move briskly in the Asia-Pacific region, where they were up by 17.2 percent, but this was to the exclusion of Japan, where sales increased by 11.3 percent. A 12.6 percent increase was recorded in the Americas.

In the second quarter, the rate of growth was a little higher in France, at 7.0 percent, but it reached only 5.2 percent in the rest of Europe, 1.6 percent in Japan, 16.8 percent in the rest of the Asia-Pacific area and 7.9 percent in the Americas.

Sales of Ready-to-wear & Accessories, which include Hermès shoes, increased by 15.8 percent in the first half, lifted by fashion accessories. The Leathergoods & Saddlery segment was by 12.6 percent, Silk & Textiles by 11.3 percent and Perfumes by 8.0 percent. Watches were down by 6.7 percent due to a difficult market, especially in China. Other sectors, which include jewelry, tableware and John Lobb, among others, recorded a sales increase of 5.8 percent.

In the second quarter, Ready-to-wear & Accessories increased by 12.9 percent on a currency-neutral basis, while Other Products were basically flat.

More details, including profits, are due to be disclosed on Aug. 29.