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Last Updated: Thursday, 2 March 2006, 09:14 GMT
Strong sales boost profit at LVMH
Louis Vuitton store
Louis Vuitton is among LVMH's best known brands
French luxury goods group LVMH has reported a 21% rise in net profits for 2005, driven by strong sales of leather goods and wines and spirits.

Profits beat forecasts, rising to 2.743bn euros ($3.27bn; 1.87bn) from 2.372bn euros in the previous year.

The world's largest luxury goods group said it was upbeat about current trading and future growth.

LVMH is behind brands such as Dom Perignon champagne, Dior Perfumes and Louis Vuitton luggage.

"The growth trend observed at the beginning of 2006 confirms the strong momentum of 2005," said LVMH.

The company was hit by one-off costs linked to the closure of its Samaritaine department stores in the heart of Paris. Net profits would have risen by 32% without the Samaritaine closure costs.

"It's better than expected, above all in fashion and leather goods and wines and spirits," said HSBC analyst Antoine Belge.

"The tone of comments on 2006 is more positive than usual."

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