LOUIS VUITTON increases production and hires additional artisans

Louis Vuitton may hire as many as 700 leather workers this year to cope with rising demand, a person familiar with the plans said. Additions will be made at factories in France, where about 70 percent of Vuitton’s leather goods are produced, as well as in Spain and California, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the matter is private. More increases may follow next year, according to the person.

Vuitton, which added 320 craftsmen last year, will open a factory in Marsaz, France, next month after inventory shortages led the Paris-based company to shutter 13 stores an hour early in the run up to Christmas. The maker of 500 euros Neverfull bags employs 4,000 to 5,000 leather workers, according to an estimate by Sanford C. Bernstein analyst Luca Solca.

LVMH intends to increase Vuitton’s production capacity “slowly, but surely” as demand outstrips supply, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Bernard Arnault said this month. As demand for leather accessories increases, LVMH is also seeking to forge closer ties with Hermes International SCA after amassing a 20.2 percent stake in the Paris-based maker of Birkin bags. The world’s largest luxury goods maker won’t be a passive investor in Hermes and can provide the family-controlled business with strategic and operational help, Arnault has said.

from Bloomberg