French luxury empire LVMH on Tuesday saw its share price soar over five percent on the Paris stock exchange after it reported strong global growth for the first three months of 2018. The group, which owns the Dior and Louis Vuitton fashion houses as well as the Moet & Chandon champagne brand and high street make-up powerhouse Sephora, reported global revenue of 10.9 billion euros (13.44 billion dollars) from January to March. That constituted an increase of 10 percent compared to the same period of 2017, while organic growth stood at 13 percent, a statement from LVMH said Monday.

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The strong earnings prompted the group's share price to surge 5.0 percent in early Tuesday trading. The first quarter results consolidated the group's record year sales in 2017, when profits passed the five-billion-euro mark. Performance in early 2018 was also strong across the LVMH house, with the watches and jewellery group recording organic revenue growth of 20 percent and perfumes and cosmetics seeing 17 percent growth, LVMH said. Among the brands that did exceptionally well were megastar Rihanna's make up line Fenty, which features matte lipsticks in mustard yellow, lapis lazuli blue and rainforest green, and eyebrow king Benefit.

And while high street fashion brands like Sweden's Hennes and Mauritz have suffered badly in recent years from the growth of online shopping, luxury goods makers like LVMH appear to be thriving in the digital age. "Online sales grew rapidly all over the world," LVMH said, describing the start of the year as "buoyant... albeit marked by unfavourable exchange rates and geopolitical uncertainties". ING Research described LVMH's results for the start of 2018 as "strong... with broad based growth across its divisions". Paris-based Invest Securities meanwhile said LVMH had made a "jump start" to the year. (AFP)