Nine month sales for French luxury goods group LVMH, whose drink brands include Moet et Chandon Champagne and Hennessy Cognac, rose 2 per cent to €8.85 billion, prompting the company to predict a further rise for the second half as a whole.
At constant exchange rates, sales would have risen 5.4 per cent, highlighting the problems the company still faces in certain international markets. However, LVMH shrugged off the problems, saying that its product mix appealed to consumers and allowed it to grow both sales and profits at a time when rival companies were slipping.
Wine and spirit sales for the nine months rose from €1.41 billion to €1.46 billion, helped by the recovery in Champagne sales after a very poor 2001, and by the increase in Hennessy Cognac sales, in particular in the US, where the French brandy market as a whole has seen a major resurgence because of its adoption by black rappers - a development which many companies have been quick to capitalise on in their advertising.
The launch of Hennessy Pure White, a white 'Cognac' designed to appeal to younger drinkers who prefer other white spirits such as vodka and tequila, has also helped boost sales at the drinks arm.
The company said sales had grown in line with expectations in the second half of the summer, fuelled by several innovative product launches and new store openings. Only DFS, the Duty Free retail business, posted a decline in sales because of lower tourist numbers in the Far East.
While it declined to give any figures, LVMH said it expected further growth in operating profits in the second half after a 19 per cent rise in the first six months, and said that its focus on organic growth and improving profitability would continue to bear fruit.