The brand’s strong performance is bolstered by the Asian market as well as its Watches, Jewelry, and Homeware segments.

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Some good news from the luxury fashion front. In its 2021 first quarter report, Hermès posted a substantial growth even in comparison to the retail landscape pre-pandemic. It had a 44 percent (by constant exchange rates) or 38 percent (by current exchange rates) compared to its first quarter sales in 2019. Powering this growth is the French brand’s performance in Asia and Japan.

Power region

Excluding Japan, Asia posted a 94 percent growth as a whole. This is credited to heavy and consistent retail action in such regions as Greater China, Thailand, South Korea, and Singapore. Japan, a loyal Hermès market, had a 20 percent growth, punctuated by the opening of a new 499-square-meter store two months ago in Omotesando Avenue. Adjacent to Harajuku and Shibuya, the street is bustling with creative energy and is lined with high end brands.

In other markets, the US maintained momentum from the end of 2020 to this year, and grew (23 percent) despite restrictions. On the other hand, constraints continue to plague Hermès’s performance in Europe. Not counting France, the continent was at -1 percent. The brand’s home country by itself was at -9 percent.

The segment with the biggest growth is Watches, which had a 96 percent increase. Earlier this month, the label introduced a new timepiece, the H08, at Geneva’s Watches and Wonders. Not too far behind is Homeware and Jewelry. Ready-to-Wear and Accessories, meanwhile, grew by 51 percent. Leather Goods and Saddlery, Silk and Textiles, and Perfumes also posted growth.

Cautious projection

“I would like to thank our employees who, for a year now, have been showing great courage and unfailing commitment,” says Hermès executive chairman Axel Dumas. “In a still unstable context, our strong sales growth confirms the robustness of our sustainable artisanal model and the desirability of our collections to our customers all over the world.”

The report, however, is quick to caution wild projections for the rest of the year.

“For 2021, the impacts of the COVID-19 epidemic are currently difficult to assess, as the scale, duration and geographic extent of the crisis evolve every day,” it reads. “Our highly integrated craftsmanship model and balanced distribution network, as well as the creativity of our collections and our customers’ loyalty , give us confidence in the future. The Group remains highly engaged and active, by gradually adapting measures to those taken by health and public authorities.”

Banner Photo by Gwen King on Unsplash

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