July 28, 2020 / 3:52 PM / 10 days ago

Gucci owner Kering says outlook unclear as virus hammers sales

PARIS/MILAN, July 28 (Reuters) - French luxury group Kering said second-quarter comparable sales had plunged by 43.7% due to the coronavirus pandemic, adding it could not provide a forecast for the second half of the year despite an encouraging recovery in Asia.

The sales drop at the conglomerate that owns Gucci was a touch better than analysts' expectations, with those at UBS citing a consensus for a 46% fall in comparable sales.

Rival LVMH managed to limit its own sales decline to 38%, though its operating margins were hit hard, limping in at 9% while Kering's shrank to 17.7%.

"The lack of visibility about how the worldwide personal luxury goods market will evolve in the next few months makes it impossible to forecast the group's second-half sales with any sufficient degree of reliability," Kering said in a statement.

"However, the loss in revenue experienced in the first six months of the year should not be offset in the second half." (Reporting by Silvia Aloisi, Editing by Sarah White)

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