French company Hermès has once again exceeded all expectations: 2012 saw the Parisian fashion giant reach its highest sales figures ever. Crisis? Which crisis?
Historically high sales
Since 2008 the French producer, known for its legendary silk scarves and the iconic Birkin-handbags, has simply its sales. Yearly sales are now at a record height of 3.48 billion euro, a rise of 22.6% percent compared to 2011. In the fourth quarter alone the company had sales worth over one billion euro.
In 2012 Hermès saw its net profits rise to 740 million euro (+24.5%) and after deduction of the added value realised in 2011 through the sale of their participation in the group Jean-Paul Gaultier the rise would even be higher at +31%. The added value of that sale was 29.5 million euro in 2011.
Operating results saw a rise of 26.4% to 1.119 billion euro, for the first exceeding one billion euro. The profit margin is at 32.1%, the highest level since the French company went public in 1993.
Not throwing caution to the wind
The excellent results of 2012 show the economic crisis is not affecting Hermès at all and that the group at the moment is not troubled by the slowing economy in Asia (providing half of the sales in 2012). This does not mean Hermès is throwing caution to the wind: the company is not making a prognosis for 2013 and it repeats that the strong euro can still have an impact on sales in Europe.
CEO Patrick Thomas is also cautious about expanding: last year two new Hermès locations opened (in China and in Taiwan) and six boutiques were renovated or expanded. This year only one new location is scheduled, in Shanghai. A dozen existing locations will be modernised.
Hermès, founded in 1837, had 10,118 employees at the end of 2012, of which 6,110 in France. The group created more than 800 new jobs last year.