Luxury goods group LVMH posted a 10% rise in fourth quarter sales, as growth edged up from the previous quarter, driven by resilient demand – including in China – for its high end fashion labels over the all-important end-of-year period.

Sales at the world’s biggest luxury group, which owns labels including Louis Vuitton, Dior and Tiffany, came to nearly 24 billion euros ($26 billion) in the final three months of the year, stripping out currency fluctuations and acquisitions.

That was just ahead of analysts’ expectations for 9% growth, according to a consensus cited by HSBC. Sales had grown by 9% in the third quarter, and by 17% in both the first and second quarters.

“It has gone well, we generated a good level of activity with comparison bases that were not so simple last year, notably in December, with a very good level of activity, so in terms of demand we are fairly happy,” said chief financial officer Jean-Jacques Guiony.

“We have significant growth in Chinese customers which continues unabated,” he told reporters.

After a post-pandemic splurge that fueled stellar sales growth for high end fashion companies over two years, consumers have been reining back purchases, particularly younger, less wealthy clientele that are more vulnerable to rising inflation.

LVMH, a conglomerate spanning spirits, jewelry, cosmetics and fashion, is regarded as a bellwether for the wider luxury industry.

Barclays’ analysts project industry-wide growth from high end luxury companies of 5% this year, down from 9% last year and double digit growth the previous two years.

Spending by Americans and Europeans remains subdued, the analysts say, and has been only partially offset by the return of Chinese tourists after lockdowns.

Sales at LVMH’s fashion and leather good division, which includes its largest labels Vuitton and Dior, climbed 9% during the quarter, just below expectations for 10% growth.

The group proposed a dividend of 13 euros per share, up from 12 euros a year ago. It forecast continued growth next year despite an uncertain macroeconomic and geopolitical context.

“The current quarter is expected to benefit from a strong Chinese recovery and consumer cluster,” said Jelena Sokolova, senior equity analyst of consumer discretionary and luxury goods at Morningstar. “We continue to see Chinese demand globally as a global bright spot for luxury.”

($1 = 0.9217 euros)

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