The French drinks and luxury goods group, LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA, posted first-quarter revenues of €2.8 billion, down 5.4% from the corresponding period last year, and slightly below expectations.

The company said it had had to cope during the first quarter with weaker currencies, reduced tourist numbers resulting from the Iraq conflict and latterly the SARS virus scare.

LVMH reported like-for-like up by 6% in the quarter, driven by 10% growth at its Louis Vuitton division. The company also said that sales from its wine and spirits division, while down 11% at €407m, were ahead of forecasts.

Wines and spirits sales in the US had held up well during the quarter, LVMH said, in spite of fears that anti-French sentiment among consumers would depress sales of French-produced goods such as Champagne and Cognac.