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Hermès positive about full-year outlook

French luxury goods group Hermès said it was positive about the second half of the year, following a strong first half performance.

Hermès forecasted a sales growth of 12% at constant exchange rates for the second half of 2010 and said operating margin was expected to improve by at least by 100 basis points compared with 2009.

However, Hermès said that growth in the second half would be slower than in the first half because of tougher 2009 comparisons.

The group’s sales for the six months to June 30 came to €1.075bn (£894m), an increase of 20% at constant exchange rates or 22.8% including the favourable currency impact.

In Europe, Hermès said sales were up by 17% in the first half, driven by strong retail activity across all countries.

Hermès also reported a 52% rise in operating profit to to €304.5m (£253m) in the first half of the year.

The luxury brand said it will open and renovate 20 stores before the end of 2010, including the launch of a new store on rue de Sèvres in Paris at the end of the year.

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