Shopping Buzz: Hermes to Slow Store Openings and Renovations

The luxury retail market is continuing to shift: After opening 13 new stores and buying out four concessions in 2011, Hermes International is planning to ease the pace of expansion this year, having experienced capacity restraints last year, according to the Wall Street Journal. It has slated three new openings—in China, Taiwan and Abu Dhabi—and 12 store renovations.

This week, the company reported a double-digit rise in first-quarter sales on brisk demand in Asia, but said growth will probably slow down this year due to more difficult trading conditions.

Chief Executive Patrick Thomas said he doesn't expect to the company's 2012 sales growth rate to match the 18 percent recorded last year, in spite of a 22 percent rise for the first quarter.

The performance update from Hermes follows mixed results from other luxury industry companies. Last week, Betsey Johnson announced the closure of the brand's stores. Last month, releases from LMVH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA and the U.K.'s Burberry Group PLC raised concerns, as figures pointed to a slackening in the pace of the sector's growth since the beginning of the year. Gucci owner PPR SA showed a solid performance in its luxury division with sales jumping 18 percent in like-for-like terms from a year earlier.

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