During 2004, Christian Dior Group operations benefitted from exceptional success across all main geographic regions, notably in Asia and in the United States. Against this background and despite weakness for the Dollar and the Yen, the Group recorded significant sales growth and an even greater increase in profitability.
LVMH recorded strong operating income growth of 11%, to reach EUR 2,420 million on sales of EUR 12,623 million.
All businesses contributed to this remarkable increase; on a constant exchange rate basis operating income growth would have been 24%.
Group share of net profit from current operations increased by 26% over 2003. This strong increase is notably due to the reduction in finance charges linked to the reduction in net debt.
LVMH net income grew by 40% and surpassed EUR 1 billion for the first time. This increase is considerable, coming as it does on top of a 30% increase already achieved in 2003.
Christian Dior Couture continued to record a strong increase in operating income which grew by 25% to reach EUR 50 million after having already achieved an increase of 21% in 2003. This sustained growth confirms the stable development of the brand and the value of a growth strategy founded on outstanding product innovation and quality.
The new womenswear ready to wear collections and the new ranges of handbags and shoes created by John Galliano have met a very large success worldwide. Under the guidance of Hedi Slimane, Dior Homme has grown significantly and is established as a leader in menswear. Further, the premium jewellery business, thanks to Victoire de Castellane, has imposed itself as a reference point for the sector.
Christian Dior Couture has significantly increased its distribution network and now has 184 wholly owned stores.
Taking account of the current growth trends for the medium and long-term and the encouraging results at the start of this year, the Christian Dior Group is aiming to achieve a tangible increase in operating income for 2005.
A net dividend of 0.97 Euro per share, an increase of 12%, will be proposed to the AGM on 12th May 2005.
An interim payment of 0.32 Euro having been paid on 2nd December 2004, the remaining 0.65 Euro will be payable on 18th May 2005.