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LVMH says impact of Japanese quake 'limited'

LVMH, the French luxury goods group behind brands including Louis Vuitton, Celine, Dior and Marc Jacobs, has said the earthquake and tsunami in Japan will have only a “limited” impact on its business there, and has vowed to continue investing in the territory.

Speaking at the LVMH annual shareholders meeting yesterday, chief executive Bernard Arnault said: “Regarding the entire Japanese business, the impact should be quite limited, in spite of everything.

“I am confident in the strength of the Japanese people: Their tenacity and their ability to face very difficult situations will help them to emerge very quickly from this terrible crisis.”

Japan is a major market for luxury labels, and accounts for 9% of LVMH’s turnover. Arnault said sales in the east and north of Japan had been hardest hit.

He added that all of LVMH’s 5,000 employees on the country had survived the disasteri, and that LVMH had donated 500 million yen (£3.7m) to the relief effort.

Also speaking at the conference, Sidney Toledano, the chairman and chief executive of French couture house Dior, which is owned by LVMH, said that it was in no hurry to appoint a new creative director to replace John Galliano, who was sacked earlier this month after an anti-Semitic outburst.

Toledano said the brand’s creative development had not been affected whilst it looked for a replacement, and that its existing design team were developing the next collection.

LVMH grew revenues 19% to £20.3 bn (£17.9bn) in the financial year to December 31 2010, whilst net profits soared 73% to 3.0bn (£2.7bn).

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