Luxury shoppers are shrugging off the threat of a global recession, braving choppy stock markets and rising Wall Street protests to splurge on Louis Vuitton handbags, Dior dresses and Bulgari watches.
That, at least, is what French luxury conglomerate LVMH told investors yesterday as it reported a 15-percent gain in third-quarter sales, adding that its business outlook for the rest of the year is upbeat.
“In the current environment, most people are looking for reasons to be worried rather than to be optimistic,” LVMH finance director Jean-Jacques Guiony said, referring to fears about Europe’s debt crisis that have rocked stock markets worldwide.
While those worries limited sales growth in Europe to 7 percent in the most recent quarter, revenue was up 18 percent in the US and 27 percent in Asia, the company said.
This week, a study by Bain & Co. that was commissioned by Italian luxury trade group Altagamma predicted global luxury sales will grow 10 percent this year, adding that the sector “is in good health.”
Watches and jewelry are expected to post the strongest increases, growing by 18 percent, followed by accessories at 13 percent and clothing at 8 percent.
Nevertheless, the report noted that growth will be driven by expansion in China, with luxury sales in Europe and the US next year expected to rise just 3.75 percent and 6 percent, respectively.