April 23, 2020 / 6:27 AM / a month ago

Hermes sales fall 7.7% in first quarter as coronavirus crisis bites

MILAN, April 23 (Reuters) - Birkin handbag maker Hermes said on Thursday comparable sales fell by 7.7% in the first quarter as the coronavirus outbreak forced it to close stores across the world.

The decline was less marked than that reported by rival luxury goods groups including LVMH, Kering and Moncler, which all posted falls in sales of 15% or more in the first three months of the year.

The health crisis first hit China - a major market for high-end wares - late last year before spreading elsewhere, and several European states including Italy and France as well as the United States have gone into lockdown to try to cope.

Hermes said consolidated revenues for the quarter came in at 1.51 billion.

Chief Executive Axel Dumas told reporters he remained cautious about the outlook for the second quarter given that 75% of the group’s stores are shut.

However, he said that since shops in China had gradually reopened in March, sales had grown double-digit there from a year earlier.

Reporting by Silvia Aloisi

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