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Hermes sales growth slows in Q4, but margins to hit record in 2017

[PARIS] French luxury goods maker Hermes, best-known for its coveted handmade bags and squared silk scarves, on Thursday said sales at constant currencies rose 5 per cent in the fourth quarter, a slight slowdown from the previous three months.

That was a touch below market expectations, with analysts expecting growth to have eased to closer to 6 per cent from 11 per cent a quarter earlier, against tougher comparisons.

Chief executive Axel Dumas said year-ago comparisons were tougher for its silk division, while stock levels of its handbags had run low after high demand throughout 2017.

Nevertheless, growth remained very healthy in general, he added on a call with journalists.

Revenues on a reported basis were down 0.4 per cent from a year earlier to 1.5 billion euros (S$2.44 billion) between October and December. Sales reached 5.5 billion euros for 2017 as a whole, up 9 per cent at constant currencies.

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Hermes, which will report full results for last year on March 21, said operating profitability should be close to the record level recorded over the first half of 2017.


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