Strong third quarter arrests LVMH’s sales decline for the year

Luxury goods and liquor-retail group LVMH recorded a 21-per-cent decline in revenue during the first nine months of this year in what it describes as a “very turbulent environment” in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The decline in sales – 30.3 billion euros – largely occurred during the first two quarters of the three, with the decline recovering to a more modest 7 per cent in the third quarter, largely driven by rebounding sales of cognac, fashion and leather goods. This was especially strong in the US and Asia. 

Liquor sales fell 15 per cent over the nine months and 3 per cent over the third quarter, while sales of fashion and leather goods, led by Louis Vuitton and Dior, were down by 11 per cent for the full nine months but surged at a double-digit rate in the third quarter.  

Covid-19 saw the suspension of international travel and the closure of the group’s stores and manufacturing sites in most countries over a period of several months. 

Sales in its watches & jewellery division led by Tag Heuer, Bulgari and Chaumet, declined by 30 per cent in the first nine months, but a rebound in China during the third quarter was insufficient to arrest an overall decline of 14 per cent for the full period. 

LVMH’s selective retailing division experienced a 31-per-cent drop in sales during the nine months. The beauty-retail chain Sephora demonstrated “good resilience during the health crisis,” according to the company despite the closure of almost all its stores globally for nearly two months before sales improved in the third quarter. 

Strong online sales saw Sephora grow market share across its main markets. However DFS predictably saw a significant decline in its activity in most destinations as a result of the suspension of international travel.

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