April 21, 2020 / 3:51 PM / 3 months ago

Gucci sales hit hard by start of virus outbreak in China

MILAN/PARIS, April 21 (Reuters) - French luxury goods group Kering said on Tuesday comparable sales fell by 16.4% in the first quarter, with its Gucci brand hit harder than its other labels due to its strong exposure to China at the start of the coronavirus outbreak.

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 since gone into lockdown to try to cope.

At group level, Kering sales fell 15.4% to 3.2 billion euros ($3.47 billion). That was a 16.4% drop like-for-like, which strips out the effect of acquisitions and currency swings.

Gucci’s like-for-like sales were down 23.2% in the period, while those at Saint Laurent, which is less reliant on China, dropped 13.8%. ($1 = 0.9209 euros) (Reporting by Silvia Aloisi, Editing by Sarah White)

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