LVMH chief executive Bernard Arnault
LVMH chief executive Bernard Arnault -- pictured here last year -- said the exceptional appeal of the French luxury group's brands helped it to post record sales and profits in 2023. AFP

The world's largest luxury goods group LVMH announced record results Thursday, even as growth slowed towards the end of last year and sales of spirits shrank.

The Paris-based conglomerate's sales for all of 2023 rose 9 percent to 86.2 billion euros ($94 billion) and net profit climbed 8 percent to 15.2 billion euros -- both records.

"Our performance in 2023 illustrates the exceptional appeal of our Maisons (brands) and their ability to spark desire, despite a year affected by economic and geopolitical challenges," CEO Bernard Arnault said in a statement.

"While remaining vigilant in the current context, we enter 2024 with confidence, backed by our highly desirable brands and our agile teams," he said.

The group's results were lifted by the continued strength of its fashion brands, which include Louis Vuitton, Dior, Celine, and Fendi.

LVMH serves as a barometer for the luxury sector, which has seen slowing growth over the past year as demand returns to normal after the post-Covid rebound and some economies began to splutter under the effect of higher interest rates.

The industry has shown mixed signals so far. British brand Burberry recently issued profit warnings, saying demand is slowing, while Swiss group Richemont, whose largest brand is Cartier, said sales continued to grow last year.

LVMH's fellow French rival Kering, whose largest brand is Gucci, will report 2023 results on February 8 and Hermes reports the following day.

Besides clothing and leather goods, LVMH also posted sales growth in perfumes, cosmetics, watches, and jewelry, with wines and spirits being the only unit to shrink, down 4 percent for the full year.

LVMH said its champagne operations, led my Moet Hennessy, grew but that cognac was hurt by a return to post-Covid normalcy in China and the United States.

LVMH breaks out results by division but not by brand. A geographical breakdown was not provided either.

The company said it would propose a dividend of 13 euros a share at its annual meeting April 18, up from 12 euros last year.

Following the results presentation, Arnault, 74, announced that his sons Alexandre, 31, and Frederic, 29, will be put forward to shareholders to join the board.

They would join their older siblings Antoine and Delphine.