Sales: $4.7 billion
Key Personnel: Bernard Arnault, chairman and chief executive officer; Antonio Belloni, group managing director; Pierre Godé, vice chairman; Nicolas Bazire, development and acquisitions; Chris de Lapuente, Sephora; Philippe Schaus, travel retail; Jean-Baptiste Voisin, strategy.
Major Products: Perfume, makeup and skin care. Brands include Christian Dior, Guerlain, Givenchy, Kenzo, Benefit, Fresh, Acqua di Parma, Parfums Loewe, Fendi and Pucci.
New Products: Christian Dior—Dior Addict Extrême lipstick, and Eau Fraîche and Miss Dior Le Parfum fragrances; Guerlain—La Petite Robe Noire fragrances; Parfums Givenchy—Dahlia Noir and Gentlemen Only fragrances.
Comments: If there’s any question that luxury is back, look no further than LVMH’s stellar results. The champagne and cognac maker reported that corporate sales jumped nearly 19% last year to more than $37 billion, and results within the perfumes and cosmetics business were something to celebrate too, as sales rose 13%.
Chairman Bernard Arnault acknowledged that 2012 was a remarkable year, “especially in the context of the economic slowdown in Europe.”
By product category, perfume accounted for 48% of sales, followed by cosmetics (35%) and skin care 17%). By region, Europe (excluding France) accounts for 33% of sales; followed by Asia (excluding Japan), 22%; other markets, 14%; France, 13%; US, 12% and Japan, 6%.
Organic sales rose 8% in 2012. Christian Dior sales were led by Miss Dior and J’adore. Guerlain sales gained from the launch of La Petite Robe Noir fragrance, while Parfums Givenchy’s results got a lift from sales of the Noir Couture mascara as well as broader distribution of the makeup collection. Finally, Benefit, Make Up For Ever and Fresh also posted gains.
First quarter results were not as robust as corporate sales rose 6% to $8.8 billion. Perfume and cosmetic sales gained 4% to nearly $1.2 billion. Christian Dior’s J’adore, Miss Dior and Dior Homme all posted solid gains and Dior Addict lipstick was popular too.
Guerlain’s sales rose on the strength of La Petit Robe Noire and the success of Orchidée Impériale, a high-end skin care line.
• Hermes, the select handbag and scarf maker, may be named after the swift-footed god of Greek mythology, but it may not be able to outrun 64-year old Bernard Arnault. The LVMH chairman has quietly acquired more than 20% of Hermes’ shares—a move that Hermes executives maintain was concealed from French regulators via a series of complex financial instruments set up by several French banks. In a lawsuit, Hermes is calling for Arnault and company to sell the stock back to Societe Generale, Natixis and Credit Agricole. An LVMH spokesman called the accusations unfounded and part of a wider slander campaign.