Hermes sales rose 8 per cent last year for French high-fashion goods manufacturer Hermes International.
In what it describes as a “difficult context”, the group’s consolidated revenue reached €5202 million (US$5.5 billion).
Sales growth was sustained in the fourth quarter (up 8 per cent at current exchange rates, and 7 per cent at constant exchange rates), with all geographies progressing.
Hermes continued to improve the quality of its distribution network, with four store openings and renovation and extension works.
Japan (up 9 per cent) performed well thanks to its selective distribution network, despite the strengthening of the yen and a high comparison basis.
Asia excluding Japan (up 7 per cent) pursued growth, particularly with extensions of the Liat Towers and Takashimaya stores in Singapore and store openings in Macau, at Hong Kong Airport and in Chongqing in China.
In Mainland China, the group says it continued to develop even though the context remains challenging in Hong Kong and Macau.
Growth over the year was driven by leather goods and saddlery products, which continue to be the mainstay of the group. Otherwise, sales benefitted from a positive momentum at year end in such sectors as silk and the ready-to-wear and accessories division.
Hermes says the 14 per cent growth in leather goods and saddlery was remarkable, thanks to the success of the collections and the diversity of models, particularly the Constance, Halzan and Lindy bags alongside the Birkin and Kelly.
The ready-to-wear and accessories division was stable over the year, posting a 4 per cent increase in the fourth quarter driven by the latest women’s collections, particularly shoes.
While sales eased 1 per cent for the silk and textiles business line in the fourth quarter, Hermes says it was a good result in the face of being penalised by events in Europe and slowing sales in Greater China during the first half of the year.
A 9 per cent growth in sales of perfumes was driven by the success of Terre d’Hermes, the launch of Galop d’Hermes and the latest creations such as colognes Eau de Neroli Dore and Eau de Rhubarbe Ecarlate.
Down 3 per cent, the watches division was penalised by a still challenging market and a high comparison basis at year end. Sales rose 2 per cent for other Hermes business lines, encompassing jewellery, Art of Living and Hermes Table Arts.
Meanwhile, Hermes is pursuing its long-term development strategy based on creativity. This year it is celebrating the “Meaning of Objects”.