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Luxury brands step up battle for travelling shoppers

By Pascale Denis and Astrid Wendlandt PARIS (Reuters) - Luxury brands are stepping up the battle for travelling shoppers with more outlets at airports and on cruise ships, tapping into one of the fastest growing sections of the market that looks set to keep booming thanks to soaring numbers of Asian tourists. Revenues from travel retail, which also includes sales on airplanes, rose 9.4 percent in 2012 to 55.8 billion euros ($76.6 billion), according to a market study by Generation Research.

L'Oreal says travel retail boom creates 'sixth continent'

By Astrid Wendlandt PARIS (Reuters) - French cosmetics giant L'Oreal <OREP.PA> has created a new travel retail division to make the most of a 17-billion-euro ($23 billion) market that is booming as a new, moneyed middle class emerges from China to Brazil. L'Oreal said the democratization of travel had created a new "sixth continent" of consumers ready to buy items such as high-end cosmetics during their journeys.

French tycoon in criminal probe over activities in Belgium

France's richest man Bernard Arnault, head of the luxury group LVMH, is the subject of a criminal probe over his activities in Belgium, the financial daily De Tijd reported Saturday. The probe follows a preliminary investigation opened last year into a capital increase of 2.9 billion euros ($3.9 billion) in LVMH's Belgian holding company Pilinvest, prosecution spokesman Jennifer Vanderputten told the Flemish-language paper. The transaction occurred in December 2011 at the company, which Arnault set up in Brussels in 1999.

European shares mainly drop on mixed earnings

European stock markets mostly fell on Friday, as investors digested mixed company results, but Paris advanced amid a rosier outlook, analysts said. The euro edged lower to $1.3267 from $1.3275 in New York late on Thursday and the dollar fell to 98.24 yen from 99.20 yen. Sterling was stable against the euro and dipped against the dollar. US stocks also fell on Friday after recent gains. In midday trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.69 percent, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index gave up 0.29 percent.

European shares mainly drop on mixed earnings

European stock markets mostly fell on Friday, as investors digested mixed company results, but Paris advanced amid a rosier outlook, analysts said. Many investors took their cue from Wall Street, which was muted overnight in the face of disappointing jobs and consumer data, dealers said. The euro edged lower to $1.3262 from $1.3275 in New York late on Thursday and the dollar fell to 98.50 yen from 99.20 yen. Sterling was stable against the greenback and European single currency. US stocks opened lower on Friday after recent gains.

European equities mainly drop amid results flow

European stock markets mostly fell on Friday, as investors digested mixed company results, but Paris advanced amid a rosier outlook, analysts said. Many investors took their cue from Wall Street, which was muted overnight in the face of disappointing jobs and consumer data, dealers said. In late morning deals, London's FTSE 100 index of leading shares dropped 0.17 percent to 6,576.83 points and Frankfurt's DAX 30 fell 0.56 percent to 8,252.26 points. In Paris, the CAC 40 added 0.54 percent to 3,977.58 points compared with Thursday's close.

LVMH buys majority stake in Italy's Loro Piana

French luxury conglomerate LVMH will assume control of Italian exclusive ready-to-wear fashion group Loro Piana by buying an 80 percent stake for about 2 billion euros ($2.5 billion), the company said in a statement Monday. LVMH said that the Loro Piana family will keep the remaining 20 percent share, and that the Italian company's current directors, Sergio and Pier Luigi Loro Piana, will keep their posts. For LVMH, the stake opens up access to a particularly high-end and symbolic Italian fashion brand that has been in the same family for six generations.

Hermes takes majority stake in watch case maker

PARIS (Reuters) - French luxury group Hermes has acquired a majority stake in Swiss watch case maker Joseph Erard, another step in a wave of consolidation that has seen watch industry players integrated in large luxury concerns. Hermes <HRMS.PA> said in a statement on Friday its La Montre Hermes unit had increased its stake in Joseph Erard Holding and now has a majority in the firm. It did not disclose terms of the transaction. Joseph Erard makes high-end watch cases and employs about sixty people.
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