LVMH's performance has shown bigger-than-expected sales

growth particularly for watch and jewellery, whose revenues jumped 30 percent in the first half. Dior offered robust growth even in the aftermath of Galliano´s demise.

Luca Solca, a retail analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein in Zurich, had predicted that Galliano’s departure wouldn’t greatly affect its financial stability. “Galliano designs the Dior catwalk collection, but the commercial relevance of that collection is very low,” Solca said to Forbes.

The world’s largest luxury conglomerate saw revenue of €10.3 billion ($14.9 billion) in the first half of 2011, up 13% from last year. Profits were €2.2 billion, up 22% from 2010.

“The first half was marked by the agreement with the Bulgari family to strengthen the long-term growth of the famous Italian Maison,” Arnault said in a press statement. “We approach the second half of the year … relying upon the creativity and quality of our products as well as the effectiveness of our teams to pursue further market share gains” in both historical and emerging markets, summed up Bernard Arnault, chairman and CEO of LVMH. He also credited strong brand appeal, consumer attraction to artisanal products and simple business strategy with prompting the growth.

"LVMH was able, as Hermes and Bulgari, to exceed expectations mainly thanks to Asia and the watches division, which bodes well for both Swatch and Richemont," Vontobel analysts say in a note to investors early this week. It was well worth a note to remark that the biggest gains for LVMH came in the watches and jewellery group, which saw a 27% jump in revenue over last year. TAG Heuer, Hublot hgh and Dior saw large jumps in sales.

LVMH gained 1.1 percent, Richemont added 1.6 percent, Swatch scratched 1.4 percent, and Dior offered the best performance within the luxury niche market with a gain of 2.8 percent. Following this trail, PPR upped by 1.5 percent and Hermes won over 2 percent.

Against this promising scenario, Asian stock markets ended mixed Wednesday, as U.S. debt worries maintained their grip on the region's investors.

Luxury brands such as LVMH, Burberry, VF Corporation, Richemond or Tiffany´s posted stronger than forecasted profits thanks to their solid growth within the region, fact that somehow lifted the local markets.

Therefore, whereas Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index managed to breach positive territory for part of the session, weakness in shares of export-focused firms dragged the benchmark to a 0.1% loss. In the same vein, Japan's Nikkei Stock Average closed the session down 0.5% as a strong yen pressured exporters, while Australia's S&P/ASX 200 finished 0.8% lower after stronger-than-expected consumer inflation data raised the possibility of another interest-rate hike and set the Australian dollar to a fresh post-float high.

Back to the Old Continent, fashion is proving to be a safe and wise investment refuge as British high street giant John Lewis showed Wednesday. Its Waitrose division has just announced its intentions to enter the clothing market, encouraged by its competitors Tesco, Sainsbury´s and Mark &Spencer´s. ASOS, Burberry, Ted Baker and Supergroup were still big news yesterday, topping the winners and losers chapters within the FashionUnited Top 100 Index.

Angela González-Rodríguez





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