Hugo Boss says good start to 2012 after record 2011

FRANKFURT Thu Feb 9, 2012 2:01am EST

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - German fashion house Hugo Boss BOSG_p.DE said 2012 had got off to a good start as it reported better than expected sales and earnings for 2011, thanks to wealthy Asian buyers snapping up luxury European brands.

The firm, known for its sharp men's suits, said 2011 sales jumped 19 percent to 2.06 billion euros ($2.7 billion) and core profit climbed 34 percent to 469 million.

It had previously forecast 2011 sales to rise by 15-17 percent and profit by 25-30 percent.

"Performance in the final quarter of the year was stronger than management had initially expected," the group said in a statement on Thursday.

The luxury industry boomed in 2011, seemingly untouched by the global economic slowdown, with demand from China helping to swell profits at companies from LVMH (LVMH.PA) to Coach (COH.N) and Burberry (BRBY.L).

There have been concerns recently that growth could slow in China and the debt crises in Europe and the U.S. could finally pinch.

LVMH has shrugged off such concerns, saying it expects an excellent 2012, but others like Tiffany (TIF.N) and Longchamp are preparing for slower growth in 2012.

Hugo Boss said it would publish a full outlook along with audited 2011 results on March 14.

($1 = 0.7545 euros)

(Reporting by Victoria Bryan)

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