In the first half of 2004, Christian Dior Group recorded operating income up 14% to EUR 1 006 million and a 36% rise in net profit from current operations (Group share) of EUR 217 million .
This growth reflects favourable trading conditions in the Group's major markets – USA, Asia and to a lesser degree Europe – as well as the Group's success in developing its leading brands while gaining market shares.
In addition to Louis Vuitton, which continues to achieve by far the highest profitability in the sector, Selective Retailing delivered a very marked improvement in its results and the Watches & Jewelry business saw a return to profit.
Christian Dior Couture reported sales of EUR 274 million or an increase of 20% at constant exchange rates (16% at current rates) during the first half of 2004 following a 20 % growth in the first half of 2003. This sales performance, which was one of the best in the sector, was accompanied by an even stronger rise in operating income of 37%.
This exceptionally strong performance was driven by the successful collections of John Galliano and Hedi Slimane as well as by a continuing and firm cost control.
Following particularly good trading during July and August, the Group's operating income is expected to rise strongly for the year as a whole.
The very favourable trend also witnessed at LVMH confirms that Christian Dior Group is on target to deliver a significant increase in consolidated operating income for 2004.
A dividend of 0.32 euro per share will be paid on December 2, 2004.