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High Street lockdowns take their toll on luxury at LVMH

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Paris: Shoppers wearing protective masks queue in front of a Vuitton shop in the French capital. Photo: Gonzalo Fuentes/Reuters

Paris: Shoppers wearing protective masks queue in front of a Vuitton shop in the French capital. Photo: Gonzalo Fuentes/Reuters

Paris: Shoppers wearing protective masks queue in front of a Vuitton shop in the French capital. Photo: Gonzalo Fuentes/Reuters

Sales at luxury goods maker LVMH slid in the second quarter as boutiques around the world were forced to shut because of the pandemic and international tourism ground to a halt.

Revenue fell 38pc on an organic basis in the three months through June, the company said in a statement on Monday. Analysts expected a 42pc drop. Sales at the fashion and leather goods unit, which includes its top brand Louis Vuitton, fell 37pc. Analysts expected a 38pc decline.

LVMH follows Richemont and Burberry in reporting what analysts expect will be the industry's worst quarter ever.

"Although there were encouraging signs of recovery in June across several of the Group's activities, revenue was notably down in the United States and Europe during the quarter," the company said. "Asia, however, has seen a marked improvement in trends, with a strong rebound in China in particular."

Profit from recurring operations were 1.67 billion euros ($1.96 billion) in the first six months of the year. Analysts had expected 2.32 billion euros.

"The profitability of Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior and Moet Hennessy remained at a high level," the company said.

While shoppers are increasingly turning to online purchases, the luxury industry has notoriously been slow to generate more revenue that way.

LVMH's online sales represented 8pc of total sales in 2018 in the most recent publicly available comments. Investors will be watching to see whether the pandemic accelerates this digital shift.

LVMH noted a "significant acceleration in online sales, only partially offsetting the impact on revenue of several months of store closures."

Louis Vuitton, famous for its monogram pattern, flexed its muscle in the quarter despite the slump. Management increased prices for the brand's iconic bags by 5pc across all major markets in May, according to Credit Suisse analysts.

LVMH have dropped 3.1pc this year.

Bloomberg

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