French luxury group Hermes said on Thursday it posted record sales of 2.8 billion euros ($3.8 billion) in 2011, highlighting the resilience of luxury brands in the face of the weakening global economy.
The group’s sales were up 18.3 percent last year, beating the target of 15-16 percent growth, it said in a statement, and its operating margin was up more than 30 percent.
The famed maker of luxury bags and silk scarves said revenue growth had been led in non-Japan Asia, where sales were up 29 percent, and in the United States, where they were up 26 percent.
Sales in Europe were up 16 percent. Japanese sales struggled however and were down one percent.
The company said sales in its own stores were up 19 percent while wholesale revenues were up 15 percent.
Silk and textiles sales were up 23 percent, sales in leather goods, including handbags, were up 12 percent, fashion and accessories up 30 percent and perfumes up 16 percent.
The company said that in 2012 it will continue its long-term strategy of “maintaining control over its know-how and distribution network.
“Hermes will continue to invest in developing its production capacity and its distribution network, with the opening or renovation of some 15 branches,” it said.
The company, which will publish its full results in March, said it would pay an interim dividend of 1.50 euros per share on March 1.
It said it had bought back 1,292,215 of its own shares in 2011, for the sum of 286 million euros.
Luxury brands have continued to enjoy strong sales despite world economic concerns, with French luxury goods giant LVMH saying last week it had enjoyed a banner year in 2011 with net profits above three billion euros.