Being more uppity is helping Hermès beat a luxury slowdown

No one will have this but me.
No one will have this but me.
Image: Reuters / China Daily
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The numbers: Better than expected. The French luxury goods maker’s sales grew 12% in the second quarter, to €910.4 million ($1.2 billion). The company said it expects revenue to grow by more than 10% this year. The Paris-based company’s shares were up 2.1%.

The takeaway: The very rich are still shopping. The upper reaches of the high-end goods market—the “absolute luxury” segment as some like to call it— isn’t hurting as much as the rest of the industry. Hermès, which went from making harnesses and saddles to selling leather bags and scarves in this elite retail class, has seen its quarterly revenue grow between 13% and 22% over the past two years. That’s compared to LVMH’s quarterly growth of 6% to 15% over the same period, at constant exchange rates.

What’s interesting: Luxury shoppers in Asia, namely in China, are moving away from high-end brands like Louis Vuitton that have reached a mass audience and lost their prestige in China in favor of more exclusive wares. That’s been good for Hermès, which boasts a limited supply of Kelly and Birkin bags that go for thousands of euros. Sales in Asia, not including Japan, rose 16% for the quarter. (Sales in America were also up, at 22%.) The company reports results for the first half of 2013 in August. Here’s how it has done over the past few years:

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