PARIS, FRANCE – Hermes posted record annual profits and sales on Friday, riding a luxury boom while faring better than its rivals in China in the last quarter of 2022.
France’s high fashion houses have posted bumper earnings despite high inflation that has caused a cost-of-living crunch in many countries.
Hermes said net profit reached US$3.6 billion (3.4 billion euros) last year, a 38 percent jump from 2021.
Sales rose 29 percent to US$12.3 billion (11.6 billion euros) at current exchange rates, slightly higher than forecast by analysts surveyed by financial data firm FactSet.
Hermes “enters 2023 with confidence, on the strength of its unique and particularly solid business model,” chief executive Axel Dumas said in a conference call.
The last year was “very strong despite all the uncertainties” thanks to the attractiveness of its brand, he said.
LVMH, the world’s top luxury group whose business includes handbags, jewelry and champagne, posted US$14.9 billion (14 billion euros) in profits and US$84 billion (79 billion euros) in sales last year – both records.
It also became Europe’s most valuable company last month, with a market capitalization that soared to US$430 billion (400 billion euros).
French rival Kering, whose brands includes Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent, reported earlier this week a 14-percent jump in net profit to US$3.9 billion (3.6 billion euros) last year.
But LVMH and Kering said their sales fell in China in the fourth quarter as the world’s second biggest economy only lifted its Covid restrictions in December.
By contrast, Hermes said its sales rose by 30.7 percent in the Asia-Pacific region, excluding Japan, in the last three months of the year.
Dumas said there was “strong” demand for Hermes in China during that period.
Sales in the Americas region surged by 46 percent to exceed US$2.1 billion (2 billion euros). They were up 21.5 percent in Europe to US$2.7 billion (2.6 billion euros).
“I have a hard time finding you a region that’s not doing well,” Dumas told reporters.
Hermes announced a US$13.8 (13-euro) per share dividend for shareholders and a special bonus of US$4,258 (4,000 euros) to all staff worldwide at the end of the month.