HERMES reports 37%t rise in first-half operating profit

French luxury group Hermes posted a 37 percent rise in first-half operating profit, driven by the United States and China, and reiterated its sales and margin goals for the full year.

Operating profit reached 418.1 million euros in the first six months of the year, Hermes said in an announcement published in Les Echos newspaper on Wednesday. The group’s operating margin rose 3.7 percentage points to 32 percent in the period, Hermes added. Net profit for the half of 2011 rose 50% to 290.9 million euros

For its full year forecast, Hermes expects a modest 12% to 14% sales increase due to stock constraints, rising raw material costs and increased advertising spending. To keep up with demand, Hermes hired 400 more employess in 2011 and expect to open 10 more stores worldwide.