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Hermes says Q1 sales gain 10.3% but leather goods sag


French luxury goods group Hermes said Monday that its first-quarter sales gained 10.3 percent on strong demand from Asia but noted weaker growth in sales of its iconic leather goods.

Overall sales came to 856.8 million euros ($1.1 billion), a statement said, with a jump of 17 percent in Asian countries excluding Japan, where they were 7.0 percent stronger, and a 12.0 percent jump in Europe, "despite a very high basis of comparison and a dull economic climate."

In the Americas, sales gained 11.0 percent, the statement added.

The overall gain of 10.3 percent was significantly less than the 2012 first quarter expansion of 18.5 percent, but Hermes posted a better figure this time around than French rival LVMH, where comparable sales were up by 7.0 percent.

Hermes had record results in 2012, with sales of 3.48 billion euros and a net profit of 740 million.

In the first quarter of 2013, the Leather Goods and Saddlery division posted organic growth of 7.0 percent from the same period a year earlier, but that was less than half the comparable rate in the final quarter of 2012.

Growth in sales of Silk & Textiles, the group's scarf division, was 15 percent.

Ready-to-wear and Accessories reported a sales jump of 18 percent, meanwhile, the same level of increase in the group's perfume unit.

Hermes did not give a detailed financial outlook for 2013 as a whole, saying only that it would expand its distribution network, strengthen its production capacity and protect its sources of supply.