Hugo Boss sales rise on strong U.S. demand

FRANKFURT Wed Jul 31, 2013 2:33am EDT

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - German fashion house Hugo Boss (BOSSn.DE) joined luxury rivals in reporting a rise in second-quarter sales as shoppers in the United States and Japan helped to offset what it termed a still challenging market in mainland China.

In the past year, China's luxury market, which had been the industry's main growth driver, has been hit by a slower economy and the government's crackdown on the country's tradition of gift-giving to facilitate transactions and deals.

Results this month from luxury brands like LVMH (LVMH.PA) and Kering (PRTP.PA) have shown, however, that solid demand in Japan and the United States, as well as recovery in Europe, is helping to offset weakness in China.

Hugo Boss, which last month signed up one of Michelle Obama's favorite designers, Jason Wu, said first-half sales rose 7 percent in the United States, its biggest market. Sales in China rose 5 percent, helped by growth in Hong Kong.

The company confirmed full-year expectations for core earnings and sales to rise by around 7-9 percent.

"Prospects remain positive beyond this year as well," Chief Executive Claus-Dietrich Lahrs said in the quarterly report.

Hugo Boss reported second-quarter sales up 11 percent on a currency-adjusted basis to 532 million euros ($705 million) and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, amortization and special items (EBITDA) of 102 million euros for the quarter, largely in line with expectations.

(Reporting by Victoria Bryan, Editing by Jonathan Gould and Mark Potter)

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