Bernard Arnault Has ‘Peaceful But Not Passive’ Intentions Toward Hermès

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Photo: Antoine Antoniol/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Bernard Arnault announced LVMH's record-high year-end revenues in Paris on Friday, revealing the company's pretax profit to be up 30 percent. He also discussed LVMH's strategy toward Hermès, of which LVMH now owns 20.2 percent. “Don’t count on us to be aggressive,” he said. “We are very pleased to be a shareholder in this very fine company. We want to support the family shareholders, and we want to support the management.” He also pooh-poohed accusations that LVMH's new shareholder status would dilute the elite culture of Hermès: “I find it pointless to compare cultures. It’s like asking, ‘Do you prefer Victor Hugo or Molière?’ They’re different writers, you can’t compare." He later added, “We can guarantee the preservation of [Hermès’s] culture in the long term.” Another promise: No duty-free stuff, ever. “No other luxury company has this elite strategy,” he said. “We never have duty free shops in airports like other brands.” [WWD]