Customers in the United States have cut spending as the cost of living has risen, a pinch felt by other luxury players. We experienced a little pressure with the American customer, to varying degrees depending on the brand, said Jean-Jacques Guiony, chief financial officer of LVMH. All in all, we have a situation where the ambitious client suffers a bit. We are experiencing declines with entry-level products, online sales and second-tier cities, which is a clear sign that the aspirational shopper is not buying as much as they used to.
The operating margin in the first half was 27.4%, compared to 27.9% in the first half of 2022, a slight erosion in profitability, as Guiony said. Asked if first-half advertising and promotional spending is the new norm, Guiony replied: I don’t think so. We had in the first half of the year a number of events. Keep in mind that these events have a cost, but on top of that there is also marketing support on advertising and media that we need to do to make them more effective. The cost of all these initiatives was quite high. I’m not saying we regret it. He added that the 1.1 billion views of Pharrell Williams’ debut show were worth the investment.
According to Bernstein analyst Luca Solca, LVMH’s overall performance portends a first step towards the normalization of luxury. Barring a recessionary hard landing, the sector should soon return to a balanced keel LVMH is no exception and should once again become the most solid long-term investment in this space, as it benefits from scale, strong mega-brands, diversification with multiple growth engines, a long and deep management bench.
Thanks to the desirability of our brands, we approach the second half with confidence and optimism but will remain vigilant in the current environment and rely on the agility and talent of our teams to further strengthen our position as the world leader in luxury in 2023, said Arnault.
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