We're more than four months into the year and it already seems like every day is an onslaught of bad news for everyone, but for LVMH, 2019 is is off to a very good start. The French conglomerate's revenues grew 16% on a reported basis during this year's first quarter, thanks in large part to stellar performances from Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior Couture. The company's fashion and leather goods category, specifically, grew 20%, more than any other category.
"Its performance was exceptional, its creativity ever more striking and innovative, and its men's and women's [Fall 2019] fashion shows were universally acclaimed," reads a press release, of Louis Vuitton. The luxury brand welcomed Virgil Abloh's debut Spring 2019 collection for men onto sales floors in January, which is proving to be a major success. And according to LVMH's earnings call on Thursday, executives will invest more into the pop-up store model, with plans to open a total of 100 in 2019 compared to 80 in 2018.
"This is the main way to thrive: innovation and newness from a retail viewpoint in front of the customer," said Chief Financial Officer Jean-Jacques Guiony. "This trend of pop-up stores is extremely important and we will continue developing that because it enables us to talk in a different way to clients in different places."
Since buying Christian Dior Couture in 2017 for $7.1 billion, its performance across all of its product categories and regions is going "exceptionally well," especially at the start of 2019. The fortunate streak will likely carry on as the brand is getting some heavy public play with the newly opened exhibition "Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams" at London's Victoria & Albert Museum.
Another label to watch from LVMH is Celine, which is currently rolling out Hedi Slimane's Spring 2019 ready-to-wear collections for men and women, as well as a new concept, in stores. Though Slimane's debut was met with a handful of, to put it bluntly, savage reviews, LVMH still has high hopes for successful sales, especially when Fall 2019 pieces start to arrive. "We had a very, very good runway show in early March and we got nothing in terms of mixed reviews," says Guiony. "All of them were extremely positive. We remain extremely optimistic but it's too early to comment."
It's no surprise that fashion and leather goods are still bringing in the big bucks for LVMH, and we have a feeling that will still be the case as 2019 continues. But, as executives mentioned on Thursday, "the group will maintain a cautious outlook for the rest of the year."