The owner of Moet Champagne and Hennessy Cognac, LVMH, has seen its nine-month sales fall 8%, hit by the effects of currency movements, with turnover for the nine months to end-September falling to €8.17 billion (US$9.5 billion).

However the group said recovering Japanese and US markets would help it meet full-year targets.

And on a like-for-like basis which excludes currency effects, divestments and acquisitions, sales at the LVMH were up 3%.

Thanks to increase in tourism and signs that the economies were recovering in the US and Japan, the company said momentum that it had gained would extend through the fourth quarter."

"In this context LVMH confirms its objective of tangible growth in operating income for 2003," it added.