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Chanel posts sales of almost US$10b, rivalling Louis Vuitton
[LONDON] Chanel, known for No.5 perfume, little black dresses and financial secrecy, opened its books to reveal nearly US$10 billion in sales last year - a level that rivals luxury leader Louis Vuitton.
The closely held French fashion house published its financial results for the first time, recording a profit of US$1.8 billion last year on sales of US$9.6 billion. The company, controlled by the Wertheimer family, said sales rose 11 per cent on a constant-currency basis as it joined in an industry rebound driven by Asian demand.
"Our financial strength gives us the means to remain independent and to focus on the long term," Chief Financial Officer Philippe Blondiaux said in a statement.
Chanel's disclosure fuels a race for bragging rights among the fashion industry's biggest brands, after Kering SA's Gucci said it aims to lift revenue to 10 billion euros (S$15.7 billion) from 6.2 billion euros last year. That would rival LVMH's Louis Vuitton, long the biggest and most profitable name in luxury. With a 45 percent sales increase last year, Gucci pulled ahead of Hermes International.
While Gucci is growing more rapidly, Chanel has relied on the strength of its cosmetics division even as its main rivals focused more on fashion and handbags. Chanel said growth last year was fueled by the new Gabrielle Chanel fragrance, as well as ready-to-wear and leather collections.