LVMH, Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton, the world's leading luxury products group, has reported sales of €12.6 billion in 2004, representing organic growth of 11% over 2003, after a partiuarly good end to the year.

The company said that in December, LVMH posted record sales, compared to an already strong organic growth recorded during the fourth quarter of 2003.

LVMH said it delivered growth in operating income of around 10% during 2004.

"The group's performance is even more remarkable considering that it was achieved in a very difficult exchange rate environment in which both the Dollar and the Yen continued to weaken against the Euro," a statement said.

The company's wines and spirits division saw operating income of €2,279m up from the €2,116m of last year, an 8% growth on a reported basis and 11% in organic terms.

The company said the division benefited from volume growth and price increases as well as an improvement in the division's product mix.

Champagne sales were strong in the US, Europe and Japan. The prestige brands Dom Perignon, Krug and Ruinart, in particular posted good sales increases. Hennessy Cognac's high-end ranges performed particularly well in the US and China.
 
"The recent acquisition of Glenmorangie and the building of a majority stake in Millennium have reinforced the Group's strength in both premium and super premium brands whose growth potential is particularly strong," the company added.
 
Looking ahead, an LVMH statement said: "While the economic and exchange rate environment is likely to remain challenging, LVMH will continue to pursue its long-term growth strategy based on creativity and product quality. The Group will continue to focus on its star brands and to improve profitability.

"Thanks to its unique portfolio of brands and talented teams, LVMH has the ability and resources to enable it to successfully meet the economic and competitive challenges of 2005, just as it did during 2004. The Group has once again set the objective of achieving a tangible increase in operating income while continuing to deliver market share gains and extend its leadership in the global luxury sector."