REINFORCING OUR FUNDAMENTALS FOR LONG-TERM SUCCESS
2014 was a prolific year for LVMH. In an ever more rapidly changing environment, our Group demonstrated the strength of its growth model and, thanks to the great dedication of its team, proved that it could combine responsiveness and long-term vision. At the intersection between iconic brands and new generations, it is laying the groundwork for the successes of tomorrow.
2014 was an eventful year for LVMH, mostly in positive ways. I will mention, of course, the opening of the Fondation Louis Vuitton, an enduring monument to our patronage of the arts. The magnificent building that houses it, due to the genius of Frank Gehry, is the perfect reflection of our values of excellence and innovation. I also see it as a symbol of our élan and our confidence in the future. Furthermore, I would like to recall two major initiatives that particularly illustrate the pillars underpinning our Group’s strength: expert craftsmanship, showcased by the foundation of the Institut des Métiers d’Excellence, and creativity, recognized with the LVMH Prize for Young Designers. 2014 will also be remembered, unfortunately, for the precipitous passing of Yves Carcelle, one of our Group’s principal managers, and for the deep sadness we felt. Yves served as the head of Louis Vuitton for more than twenty years, and was at the heart of its success. A driven leader and visionary, he was a man of enthusiasm, warmth and generosity to all.
A STRONG DYNAMIC MATERIALIZED BY MAJOR ACHIEVEMENTS
Against a backdrop of economic, monetary and geopolitical uncertainty, LVMH continues to make progress, and posted record revenue and net profit in 2014. We succeeded in translating our growth dynamic into many achievements. The champagne houses registered advances in all regions. Louis Vuitton began a new chapter in its creative history with Nicolas Ghesquière’s enthusiastically received debut collections. The Maison also celebrated its Monogram, a timeless symbol of its fabulous heritage. It was also a great year for Parfums Christian Dior, which achieved growth in all product categories and continued to gain market share. Sephora maintained its remarkable dynamic around the world. Bvlgari celebrated its 130th anniversary, turning in an exceptional year boosted by its innovation and expanded global presence.
At the same time, destocking by distributors in China weighed on Hennessy’s revenue. DFS had to deal with a complex situation in Asia, while TAG Heuer felt the effects of slower sales in the watchmaking industry. One of our Group’s greatest strengths is its responsiveness: each of these Maisons demonstrated this yet again by adapting its strategy to the challenges at hand.
On a financial level, LVMH withdrew its investment in Hermès International at the end of the year, by distributing its stake to shareholders. This transaction enabled us to make a capital gain and share the corresponding value creation with our shareholders.
SOLID FUNDAMENTALS, GETTING STRONGER STILL
The climate at the beginning of 2015 remains mixed. The economic horizon seems to be clearing up and the monetary situation improving. Solid European economic growth, however, has yet to arrive, and geopolitical disruptions are still creating uncertainty.
In a multipolar, ever-changing and yet also highly interconnected world, LVMH enters the next few years in an even more robust position than before, and can depend on the agility of its organization to help it rise to new challenges and seize the best opportunities for growth and market share gains. Our fundamentals are stronger thanks to the Maisons that have found the keys to lasting success, such as Fendi and Céline, as well as those that joined our Group recently: Bvlgari, a jewelry house of singular style, which has blossomed over its first four years at LVMH; and Loro Piana, master of the world’s most exquisite materials and fabrics, fresh from its first year in the Group. These Maisons share our culture of excellence and creativity. They provide us with new exceptional savoir-faire, an additional source of growth potential. They also share the sense of family and entrepreneurial spirit which we have preserved in LVMH’s management culture; which sustains the Group’s success and that of its Maisons over the long term.
Attracting young creative talents and helping them develop their Maisons within the Group is another way to prepare for the future. Nicholas Kirkwood, renowned as one of the most promising designers in the booming footwear industry, joined us in 2013. As did J.W. Anderson, whose ready-to-wear brand is already influential, and who has also been appointed Artistic Director of Loewe. He will bring to Loewe his ability to marry the traditions of this Maison with modernity. Maintaining our obsession with quality, the creation of desire, offering our customers an exceptional experience at our stores, and strengthening the influence of our brands remain the pillars of our strategy. Just as important is our creativity and innovation in everything we do. Innovation in products, distribution, communication, the digital sphere… Many new projects are under way for 2015 and beyond, across all our business lines. With a constant eye on managing our resources, we target the opportunities that offer the best prospects. Responsiveness, swift decision-making, operational agility and long-term vision: the strong dedication of our teams will continue to ensure that we keep making progress in the world’s major markets.
CONFIDENCE IN THE FUTURE
I would like to reaffirm my confidence in the future and look back on two recent events in the Group’s life that bear this out in more ways than one: the opening of La Ruche, Guerlain’s new ultra-modern manufacturing facility, without doubt one of the highest-quality sites in the world in terms of production, employee working conditions and respect for the environment, preceded by that of the Hélios perfumes and cosmetics research center near Orléans. This cutting-edge resource for our researchers tasked with preparing the products of tomorrow was also built in compliance with France’s High Environmental Quality standard: insofar as our future lies in innovation, it also depends on preserving the riches of nature. What is more, at Hélios we provide local teams with access to our skills to help them accelerate their own innovation processes: as a leader, we have a responsibility to build strong ties with the local community and help launch the start-ups and small businesses that will become our future partners. Our citizenship commitments are also a driver of long-term success.
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer