Lower sales of its couture lines in the US and Japan, coupled with retailers cutting their inventories, have pushed Christian Dior Group to a 27% drop in first half net profit.

In the first six months of 2009, net profit fell to EUR709m from EUR974m

Sales were EUR8,137m, down 0.2% on last year's EUR8,152m.

Half-year revenues at Christian Dior Couture slipped 7.1% to EUR340m. European sales and strong growth in China were unable to offset a slowdown in the US and Japan, the company said.

The company, which belongs to Europe's biggest luxury products manufacturer Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton (LVMH), is also the holding company for the Louis Vuitton fashion brand.

As reported on Friday (31 July), LVMH revenues edged up by 0.2% to EUR7.81bn, thanks largely to an 8% sales increase from its fashion and leather goods.

But net profit was down 23% on last year to EUR687m, hit by slumps in the wines and spirits, and watches and jewellery divisions.

The Christian Dior Group is optimistic it will ride out the economic crisis thanks to new product launches, geographic expansion and cost controls.