LVMH Mo�t Hennessy Louis Vuitton, the world's leading luxury product group, today announced consolidated sales in the first quarter of 2003 of 2,803 million Euros.
Organic growth, that is with a comparable structure and at constant exchange rates, rose 6%. On the operating income level, the exchange rate effects are compensated for by an efficient global hedging policy. This good organic growth enables an increase in operating income exceeding our expectations at the beginning of the year, propelled in particular by the exceptional success of Louis Vuitton, which reported a double digit increase in volume during the first three months of the year.
Champagnes & Wines registered organic growth for the first quarter of 2003 on top of an over 30% increase in the same period in 2002. Cognac volumes increased in the first quarter with a particularly good performance in the United States.
Louis Vuitton continued to win market share over the first quarter. The brand had exceptional results particularly when compared with its competitors. The new products created by Marc Jacobs were hugely successful and have waiting lists around the world as does the new Tambour watch. In March, Louis Vuitton inaugurated its first shop in New Delhi, India.
Within Perfumes & Cosmetics, Christian Dior continues to grow with the huge success of the launch of the new range of skincare products, Capture R60/80. Organic growth of Perfumes & Cosmetics was 6% for the quarter which is a very good performance.
Within Selective Retailing, DFS implemented a series of measures aiming to adapt its cost structure to the weakness of the global tourism market. Sephora continues with the positive momentum seen last year, with in particular double digit comparable store sales growth in United States.
In the current unstable geopolitical climate, LVMH continues to focus its efforts on the development of its major brands, which showed an exceptional ability to grow both market share and profitability in 2002. LVMH is paying close attention to the global economic situation and accelerating the necessary steps to again improve profitability and to gain market share. LVMH confirms its objective of further tangible growth of operating income in 2003 and giving priority to cash generation.
The good geographical balance of our sales, the strength of our brands, the motivation of our teams, our policy of dynamic innovation and the quality of our products should enable the Group to further reinforce its leadership in the world luxury market.