French luxury giant Hermes posted on Friday record annual sales and net profit, with plans to reward all employees worldwide with a bonus following strong growth in every region last year.
The group reported a better-than-expected profit of 4.3 billion euros ($4.6 billion), up 28 percent from 2022, on sales that surged 16 percent at current exchange rates to 13.4 billion euros.
"In 2023, Hermes has once again cultivated its singularity and achieved an outstanding performance in all metiers (businesses) and across all regions against a high base," executive chairman Axel Dumas said in an earning statement.
The group said its 22,000 employees worldwide would get a 4,000-euro bonus early this year as part of "its policy of sharing the fruits of growth with all those who contribute to it on a daily basis".
It will also propose an increase in dividends for shareholders.
Hermes shares rose by almost five percent on the Paris stock exchange Friday to 2,174.50 euros, propelling its market capitalisation above cosmetics giant L'Oreal, making it France's second largest company behind luxury goods rival LVMH.
L'Oreal's stock price fell more than seven percent to 418.80 euros after posting lower-than-expected results for the fourth quarter.
Shares in LVMH, the world's largest luxury goods group, were up 0.4 percent to 807.50 euros. It also reported record annual earnings last month.
Gucci owner Kering was up 0.9 percent to 413.10 euros, a day after reporting slumping profits.
- 'Show of confidence' -
Hermes said its sales climbed 14.5 percent in Japan and 12.9 percent in the rest of the Asia-Pacific region last year, with the group opening its 33rd store in China, a major market for luxury brands.
Japan and Asia-Pacific together were the biggest market for Hermes, with total sales of 7.5 billion euros.
Sales rose 19 percent to three billion euros in Europe and 17.1 percent to 2.5 billion euros in the Americas.
"Hermes is yet another company to confirm reviving momentum of the American consumers, on the back of resurgent confidence and lower inflation," said Luca Solca, an analyst at Bernstein.
In its outlook for 2024, the company said: "In the medium-term, despite the economic, geopolitical, and monetary uncertainties around the world, the group confirms an ambitious goal for revenue growth at constant exchange rates."
It said it would propose a dividend increase to 15 euros per share, up from 13 euros in 2022, at its next general meeting in April.
"In addition, an exceptional dividend of 10 euros per share will be proposed to the general meeting," it said.
"It's a show of confidence for the coming year," Dumas said.