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Longchamp chief sees no "causes of concern" in luxury market

Jean Cassegrain, the third-generation CEO of luxury retailer Longchamp, said he sees little for the company to be concerned about after positive sales in Europe and the successful launch of a new line during the first half of 2010.

Longchamp did not post a negative growth quarter during the recent economic downturn, and has seen sales rise 25% between February and April compared with the same period last year. Speaking at the Reuters Global Luxury Summit in Paris, Cassegrain said: "There are no concrete signs which would be causes of concern."

He cited an improved economic situation in the company's large European markets and the US, although trading in Greece, Portugal and Spain continued to suffer, and the successful launch of a partnership with model Kate Moss as two reasons for the strong sales figures. 

Cassegrain also highlighted the family's ownership of the company as a reason for its success. "Our independence allows us to pursue a long-term strategy," he said. "It is very difficult to make predictions, every time we make some we get it wrong, which is why it is good we are not listed."

Longchamp was founded in 1948 by Cassegrain's grandfather, also named Jean, and is still owned and managed by the founding family. Cassegrain serves alongside his father Philippe Cassegrain who is Longchamp president, and his sister Sophie Delafontaine, who is the company's artistic director. 2009 figures put company turnover at €290 million. 

Picture: Longchamp's best selling Le Pliage handbag

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