French luxury giant LVMH vaunted its ability to weather bad times on Thursday as it said revenue slid 15 percent in the first three months of this year as the coronavirus crisis erupted.
The drop in revenue to 10.6 billion euros ($11.5 billion) included February and March, when much of the important Chinese market was in lockdown.
“LVMH has proven its ability to be resilient in an economic environment disrupted by a serious health crisis that has led to the closure of stores and manufacturing sites in most countries in recent weeks, as well as the suspension of international travel,” said the group.
The group includes fashion brands such as Louis Vuitton, Fendi, Christian Dior, Givenchy and Kenzo. It also owns watchmakers Bulgari, Tag Heuer and Hublot as well as several champagne houses and Hennessy cognac.
While the luxury sector largely bucked a slowdown in global growth last year due to the China-US trade war, the closure of non-essential shops by many governments to stem the spread of COVID-19 has disrupted their business badly.
Without a calendar for when countries will relax their restrictions, the firm said it could not forecast the impact on its results.
“In the current situation, the group will further strengthen its policy of controlling costs and being selective in its investments,” LVMH said in its statement.
It also announced it will propose to shareholders to cut the dividend payment for 2019, announced in January, by 30 percent.
CEO Bernard Arnault and the other members of the executive board have given up their salary for the months of April and May, and all of their variable pay for 2020.