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Vuitton owner LVMH says sales fell 7% in Q3, beating estimates

PARIS, Oct 15 (Reuters) - French luxury giant LVMH said comparable sales fell 7% in the third quarter, beating analyst forecasts, as its fashion and leather goods division managed to contain the fallout from the coronavirus crisis to swing back into positive territory.

The luxury sector was hit hard by the pandemic which forced brands to temporarily shut stores across the globe and severely disrupted international tourism.

But LVMH, which is embroiled in a legal dispute over its planned acquisition of U.S. jeweller Tiffany, has proved more resilient than some of its smaller peers, and its shares are only down 3% since the beginning of the year.

Its star fashion and leather goods labels, Louis Vuitton and Dior, have outperformed most rivals, and the whole division saw sales grow by 12% in the three months to September on a like-for-like basis, which strips out the impact of foreign exchange and acquisitions.

Comparable sales of wines and spirits were down 3% over the period, while perfume and cosmetics dropped 16%, watches and jewellery fell 14%, and the retailing division - the most exposed to travel flows - plunged 29%. (Reporting by Silvia Aloisi and Sarah White)