LVMH Mo�t Hennessy Louis Vuitton, the world's leading luxury products group, recorded 2003 third quarter organic sales growth of 6%. For the first nine months of 2003, organic sales grew 3% to Eur 8 167 million.
This performance reflects the exceptional appeal of LVMH brands and products, which continued to increase their market share, the success of the Group strategy and the effectiveness of the teams who succeeded in achieving improved results despite a difficult economic environment.
As expected, Group sales experienced faster growth over the second half of the summer, due to the launch of several innovative products and to new store openings.
Wines & Spirits recorded strong organic growth in the third quarter, with new gains in market share. Growth was particularly noteworthy for champagne in Japan and for cognac in the United States.
Louis Vuitton recorded double-digit organic sales growth over the first nine months. Strong local customer demand continued over the summer in Japan and the US where third quarter sales were markedly higher, improving by over 20% compared to the year ago period. Louis Vuitton's sales performance since the beginning of the year, a period in which some competitors have experienced difficulties, is due to the extraordinary success of its products and a unique attention to quality which is recognized and appreciated world-wide.
The Group's spring/summer 2004 collections have been unanimously lauded by the media and by buyers from around the world, in particular the collections from Dior, Vuitton, Fendi and Pucci.
The third quarter was also marked by the very successful launches of the new fragrances for women, Very Irresistible from Givenchy and L'Instant from Guerlain.
Since June, Watches and Jewelry has benefited from a global recovery in the market along with a return on the investment made in communications and product innovation over the first half of the year. Organic sales grew by 8% in the third quarter, with particularly strong contributions from Montres Christian Dior and Zenith.
Taking into account the steady recovery in international travel, DFS is on target to at least break even in 2003. Sephora continues to achieve exceptional results in the US with sales (in US dollars) increasing by 25% in the third quarter.
Due to the great appeal of its products, LVMH expects to continue to achieve sales growth over the remainder of the year despite the high comparison with the strong Group sales reported in the fourth quarter of 2002. Tourism levels have continued to improve in October and there appear to be signs of a sustained economic recovery in the US and Japan. The Group expects this momentum to extend through the fourth quarter. In this context, LVMH confirms its objective of tangible growth in operating income for 2003.