Confirmed: Hermès, recently the subject of a Forbes profile dubbing it one of the "world's great wealth machines," is in no way slowing its roll. The company reported Friday morning that in the first half of 2014 it raked in €1.9 billion (about $2.5 billion) in sales, a 8 percent increase compared to last year. Of that, €413 million (roughly $545 million) was profit -- a healthy margin.
Among Hermès various categories, ready-to-wear and accessories sales are picking up the most, growing 16 percent in the first six months of the year. Leather and saddlery sales rose 13 percent, while silk and textiles saw an 11 percent boost. The only blight on its track record was a 7 percent dip in sales for its watches.
Although some high-end brands like Tiffany & Co. have struggled in Japan in recent months thanks to an increased consumption tax, Hermès ended the half at 11 percent growth, buoyed up by an "exceptional" first quarter, when consumers were snapping up Hermès goods before the tax hike. Excluding Japan, Asia overall saw 17 percent sales growth, with the U.S. following at 13 percent and Europe at 7 percent.
With Hermès fans increasingly interested in the brand's clothing offering, we'll be curious to see whether the artistic direction of Nadège Vanhee, who recently moved over from The Row to replace Hermès's previous creative director Christophe Lemaire, will further lift ready-to-wear sales.