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Hermes sales rises 14% in Asia as Chinese reopen wallets

The recovery in the luxury goods industry gained pace after luxury handbag maker Hermes joined LVMH and Gucci parent Kering in saying the Chinese market is improving and pointed to growth in leather goods like its iconic Birkin bag.

Revenue climbed to US$1.4 billion, Paris-based Hermes post sales climbed 8.8% excluding currency swings, led by 14% growth in Asia Pacific, the fastest rate in more than two years.

Chinese customers, the biggest buyers of luxury goods who make up more than a third of global demand, have been re-opening their wallets, luxury groups said, spurred in part by government policies encouraging local consumption.

“China is growing at a better pace, mainly because the economy is strengthening and because of domestic consumption,” Hermes CEO Axel Dumas said on a conference call. “In our case, I’m not talking about a rebound, because we always had growth.”

Leather goods, including the company’s signature handbags, and saddle-making generated a 16% increase in sales in the quarter.

The French company’s sales figures confirmed improved trends in the luxury goods sector, highlighted last month by forecast-beating numbers from LVMH and Kering.

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