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Hermes bags record sales in 2016

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Luxury goods maker Hermes said Wednesday it booked record sales in 2016, thanks to strong demand in all regions, and Japan in particular.

Hermes’ revenues rose by 7.5 percent to 5.2 billion euros ($6.0 billion) last year, the first time the group has passed the five-billion-euro mark.

“Once again, we outperformed the sector, we broke through the five-billion mark and growth was healthy, because it was essentially organic growth,” boasted chief executive Axel Dumas in a conference call.

The leather goods and saddlery division reported a 14-percent increase in sales to 2.6 billion euros.

“All of our models were successful, we achieved higher growth than usual,” Dumas said.

“Sales grew in all regions around the world, particularly in our own-brand stores,” he continued.

Japan performed “exceptionally” well, despite the rise in the value of the yen.

Sales also continued to increase in Asia and America, Dumas said.

France also performed well, “even if it was still impacted by weaker tourist numbers” in the wake of the series of jihadist attacks.

Hermes is scheduled to publish full details of its 2016 earnings on March 22, but it said that underlying profitability “should be slightly above 2015.”

Looking ahead to the current year, Hermes did not provide any concrete forecast, but confirmed its “ambitious” sales growth target.

“I’m fairly optimistic because Hermes’ fundamentals are good,” CEO Dumas said.

“In a period of high uncertainty, it’s difficult not to be cautious. But I think we’ll do better than the sector,” he said.

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