LVMH shares jump over 12% as earnings point to luxury sector resilience

Bernard Arnault, Chairman and CEO of LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton, speaks during a press conference to present the 2023 annual results of LVMH in Paris, France, January 25, 2024. 

Benoit Tessier | Reuters

LVMH shares jumped more than 12% on Friday morning, after the world’s largest luxury group posted higher-than-expected sales for 2023 and raised its annual dividend.

The owner of Louis Vuitton, Moët & Chandon and Hennessy, as well as brands including Givenchy, Bulgari and Sephora, on Thursday night reported sales amounting to 86.15 billion euros ($93.34 billion) for 2023, exceeding consensus forecasts and equating to 13% organic growth from the previous year.

Organic revenue was up 10% in the fourth quarter.

The result was boosted in particular by 14% annual growth in the critical fashion and leather goods sector, along with 11% growth in perfumes and cosmetics. Wines and spirits meanwhile posted a 4% decline.

The Paris-listed stock provisionally closed Friday’s session nearly 13% higher.

“Our performance in 2023 illustrates the exceptional appeal of our Maisons and their ability to spark desire, despite a year affected by economic and geopolitical challenges,” Bernard Arnault, chairman and CEO of LVMH, said in a statement.

“While remaining vigilant in the current context, we enter 2024 with confidence, backed by our highly desirable brands and our agile teams.”

After a boom during the pandemic, the luxury sector endured a rough end to 2023 as challenging geopolitical and macroeconomic conditions weighed on consumer spending, particularly in the U.S. and China.

LVMH in April 2023 became the first European company to surpass $500 billion in market value, but a share price decline over the last six months allowed it to be eclipsed as Europe’s largest company by Danish pharmaceutical giant Novo Nordisk.

British luxury brand Burberry earlier this month issued a profit warning in response to slowing demand, as the balloon in high-end spending that peaked during the pandemic loses air. At the time, the news sent Burberry shares plunging and dragged down the wider sector.

Yet luxury stocks broadly advanced on Thursday as investors took heart from LVMH’s reassuring results. Burberry’s own shares were up 1.7% Friday morning.

Javier Gonzalez Lastra, portfolio manager of the Tema Luxury ETF, told CNBC on Thursday that investors are trying to gauge where the bottom of the earnings cycle revision is for the luxury sector. He predicted that earnings are “likely to get tougher” through the first half of 2024 because of last year’s unusually high annual comparisons.

Arnault, however, is pinning some hope on LVMH’s partnership with the Paris 2024 Olympics, which he said “provides a new opportunity to reinforce our global leadership position in luxury goods and promote France’s reputation for excellence around the world.