Paris — France’s Hermes on Wednesday said operating margins reached a first-half record at the start of 2018 as resilient demand in key markets such as  China also helped the luxury handbag maker and most of its major rivals lift profits. Top luxury labels from Louis Vuitton owner LVMH to Gucci-parent Kering are basking in a favourable sales environment thanks to buoyant appetite from Chinese shoppers, who account for about a third of the global sector’s revenue. This momentum has yet to slow in spite of the trade spat between Beijing and Washington, and Hermes had reported robust revenue growth for the second quarter in July thanks to strong Chinese demand. That remained the case, Hermes CE Axel Dumas told journalists on Wednesday, as the company posted a 6%  rise in recurring operating income to €985m  ($1.14bn) between January and June. “There has not been any change in trend so far,” Dumas told journalists. Recurring operating margins, which strip out the effect of one-off items...

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