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Arnault Installs Daughter at Vuitton to Fix Fading Handbag Maker

LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA named Delphine Arnault, daughter of Chairman Bernard Arnault, as executive vice president at Louis Vuitton, tasking her with overhauling the handbag maker’s products amid weakening sales.

Arnault, 38, will join LVMH’s largest brand in September from Christian Dior Couture, where she has been deputy managing director since 2008, the Paris-based luxury goods maker said today in a statement.

The executive’s knowledge of high-quality products and her experience at Dior are “key assets to contribute to the successful development of Louis Vuitton,” Michael Burke, chairman and chief executive officer of the handbag maker, said in a statement.

Vuitton is raising prices, using more leather as well as fewer logos in its product mix and limiting store expansion to regain its luster as sales growth slows from Barcelona to Beijing. LVMH, the world’s largest luxury goods maker, in April posted its weakest fashion and leather goods sales growth since 2009.

Vuitton, which accounted for about half of LVMH’s 5.9 billion euros ($7.7 billion) in earnings before interest and taxes in 2012, “needs fixing,” said Luca Solca, an analyst at Exane BNP Paribas. “I can hardly imagine a more important job within the group than to be overseeing this process. It can be a coming of age assignment.”

The shares gained as much as 2.5 percent in Paris trading and were up 2.1 percent to 121.7 euros as of 4:33 p.m.

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