Fashion’s richest man was up more than $11 billion on Tuesday, as the stock market rebounded in response to the White House and U.S. Senate reaching a $2 trillion stimulus deal amid the continued spread of the coronavirus. On the heels of “losing more financially than anyone else in the world,” per Bloomberg, LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton chairman Bernard Arnault’s net worth rose as share prices for the publicly-traded LVMH and Christian Dior got a boost during Tuesday’s “historic” stock market surge.
According to Bloomberg, “The swings in Arnault’s fortune” – which are directly tied to the fluctuating prices of his luxury goods companies’ stock – “underscore the dramatic volatility of global markets, driven by virus panic and alternating hope and pessimism for government intervention.” The coronavirus-related hits to LVMH and thus, Arnault, individually, that have abounded in recent weeks follow from the French business titan’s landing in the number 2 spot on Bloomberg’s and Forbes’ respective “Billionaires” lists in 2019 thanks to sizable gains in the luxury goods sphere.
As of July 2019, Arnault had added nearly $40 billion to his fortune, “the biggest individual gain by far among the 500 people on Bloomberg’s [Billionaires] ranking,” the publication noted, largely thanks to gains in LVMH’s shares. While Arnault was up on Tuesday compared to his starting position for the day, he is still down a whopping $35.2 billion in 2020 as a result of the COVID-19.
LVMH – which generated $59.12 billion in sales in 2019 in connection with Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, Celine, Givenchy, Loewe, and Fendi, as well as the 70 or so other luxury brands under its ownership umbrella – has not yet released any preliminary guidance on how its sales and growth will be impacted by the global health crisis that is COVID-19. However, one of its closest rivals, Kering’s recently-issued preliminary financial estimates likely provide some hints as to what is to come.
In a statement released last week, Kering, which owns Gucci, Saint Laurent, Balenciaga, and Bottega Veneta, among other brands, estimates that when “taking into account the progression of COVID-19 in all of its key markets and the impact on the activity of its Houses,” consolidated revenue for the first quarter of 2020, ending March 31, will be down by between 13 percent and 14 percent in reported terms (approximately 15 percent in comparable terms) compared to the first quarter of 2019.
More than that, the Paris-based group said that it expects “sharp” impacts for the second quarter, as well, as consumer opt out of luxury spending amidst the global health crisis.
As of Wednesday morning, shares in LVMH were still “climbing amid broader European gains, rising as much as 4.9 percent by 10:07 a.m. in Paris.”