LVMH profits rise as Asian demand continues

LVMH shop front
Image caption There have been worries in the luxury goods sector about slowing demand from Asia

Profits at LVMH for last year have beaten forecasts, with world's largest luxury goods group saying the outlook for 2012 was "excellent".

Net profits rose 1% to 3.06bn euros ($4.02bn; £2.5bn) but were up 34% if a one-off financial gain from LVMH's shares in Hermes in 2010 was excluded.

Sales rose 16% to 23.6bn euros on Asian growth and at the Louis Vuitton unit.

LVMH, a French group, said that it "enters 2012 with confidence" despite economic uncertainty in Europe.

There has been nervousness in the luxury goods sector in recent months amid worries that Europe's debt crisis could trigger a slowdown in fast-growing emerging markets such as China.

Last month Swiss group Richemont said that sales growth in the last quarter of 2011 were solid, helped by buoyant trade in Asia.

LVMH saw the fastest growth in profit last year at its watches and jewellery business, whose size was doubled by the purchase of Bulgari.

The fashion and leather goods division saw profits rise by a fifth, helped by "double-digit revenue growth and exceptional profitability" at the Louis Vuitton brand.

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