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Lagerfeld's Chanel made $11 billion in his last year

The notoriously secretive brand owned by the Wertheimer family, which has only reported its results publicly twice in its 109-year history, said sales rose more than 10% in 2018.

Designer Karl Lagerfeld. Picture: @karllagerfeld/Facebook.com.

PARIS - Chanel clocked up sales of nearly 10 billion euros ($11.1 billion) in its final year under the late designer Karl Lagerfeld, the French label said Monday.

The notoriously secretive brand owned by the Wertheimer family, which has only reported its results publicly twice in its 109-year history, said sales rose more than 10% in 2018.

Chanel's iconic director - who had so dominated fashion that he was called the "Kaiser" - died of cancer in February aged 85.

Lagerfeld worked until the end, and despite his final illness his creations "achieved double-digit growth with great performances in leather goods and ready-to-wear", the label said.

Profits rose to close to $3 billion, with finance chief Philippe Blondiaux hailing "another strong year".

The performance was particularly strong given that the fashion house had sunk $1 billion into upping its digital presence, Blondiaux said, as well as securing "supply chains... and strengthening social and environmental commitments."

He said its perfume and beauty division had also shown rapid growth with the launch of new fragrances such as Coco Mademoiselle and Bleu de Chanel.

Chanel is regarded as one of the world's richest and most stable fashion brands, said to be worth in excess of $20 billion.

Only rival Paris house Louis Vuitton has more financial clout, although much of its profits come from its luggage and handbag business.

In terms of turnover, it also comes second behind Vuitton, whose owners LVMH reported sales of "well over $10 billion" in 2018.

The results were released on the eve of Paris men's fashion week, where a special event will honour Lagerfeld in the city's vast Grand Palais, the scene of some of his greatest catwalk triumphs.

Chanel opened its books for the first time last year, showing that its owners Alain and Gerard Wertheimer were the fourth and fifth richest people in France and among the 40 wealthiest on the planet.

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