The Hermes sign outside the luxury group’s shop in Bordeaux, France. Picture: REUTERS
The Hermes sign outside the luxury group’s shop in Bordeaux, France. Picture: REUTERS

French fashion house Hermes has reported another quarter of brisk sales growth, propelled by red-hot demand in China, where the ultra-chic brand expects further growth as it opens stores and rolls out online sales.

The company said on Wednesday sales in the third quarter climbed 9.4%  to €1.46bn,  racking up higher sales in all the regions where it operates.

But it was Asia excluding Japan, which has become the group's biggest source of revenue, that set the pace, with sales jumping 11.8%  to €519m. 

The results reassured investors who had worried that trade tensions between Beijing and Washington could hamper sales of Birkin, Kelly and other hot Hermes handbags to eager Chinese customers.

"We have not seen any change of rhythm in China for now," executive chairman Axel Dumas said. Nonetheless, "we remain vigilant and are not taking anything for granted", he said.

Hermes opened a store in Xi'an in September, after openings in Changsha and Hong Kong in 2018.  In October the site went online, offering internet sales across China.

The company has not divulged any specific targets for sales growth in 2018. But it said in a statement: "In the medium term, despite growing economic, geopolitical and monetary uncertainties around the world, the group confirms an ambitious goal for revenue growth at constant exchange rates."

At constant rates, overall third-quarter sales rose 9.4%, softening from the 11.6%  growth chalked up the previous quarter.

But the storied French leather and fashion house is still enjoying one of its most prosperous eras,  with profit margins reaching a record 34.6%  in 2017.

It has been bulking up its production capacity, with a new workshop opening in the Franche-Comte region near the French border with Switzerland last April, and two new sites under way near Bordeaux and south of Paris.