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Louis Vuitton flourishes in Europe, China
Updated: 2005-06-13 09:44

French luxury fashion and accessory house Louis Vuitton is enjoying healthy growth in Europe, while doing booming business in China, its head Yves Carcelle said in an interview published by a Swiss newspaper.

A model presents a creation by US designer Marc Jacobs for Louis Vuitton during the Ready-to-Wear Autumn/Winter 2005-2006 collection shows in Paris, March 2005. [AFP]

"To the great surprise of many analysts, we are achieving at the moment spectacular results in Europe," he told the NZZ am Sonntag.

The group, which specialises in leather goods, ready-to-wear, jewellery and accessories, has just opened a new store in Zurich.

According to Carcelle 25 percent of sales are made in Europe and the same proportion in the United States.

But Carcelle, just back from a visit to China, said that 50 percent of sales were made in China and that was the focus of the company's attention.

In October it expanded its Shanghai store for the third time. Louis Vuitton, star performer of the LVMH group, has been in China since 1992 and now has 13 shops, mostly in little-known provincial cities.

"We want to penetrate the Chinese market systematically because that will allow exponential growth," he said. A second store with floorspace of 1,300 square metres (14,000 square feet) will open in the Chinese capital Beijing at the end of this year.

"And next year.... we shall open three or four more shops in China."

Louis Vuitton, which draws more than 80 percent of its income from leather goods and accessories, has in recent years diversified into ready-to-wear, footwear and watches.

"Unlike our competitors we produce these finished products ourselves and they are only on sale in our stores," Carcelle said.

In Europe, Louis Vuitton has 14 manufacturing centres for leather goods and accessories, a footwear production plant in Italy and watch factory in northeast Switzerland employing 60 staff. The company sells almost 10,000 watches a year, Carcelle said.

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