Luxury goods maker Hermes International's net profits rose 13.4% in 2005 to EUR247m (US$298m), marginally down on analysts' estimates.

Operating profits were also up from EUR357.1m to EUR383.5m after the company reported sales gains in all three of its major regions during the year.

The launch of online sales in France and a new store opening in Greece had helped to lift sales in Europe by 7%, the company said.

Meanwhile, sales in North America were up 10% on 2004, thanks in large part to Hermes' New York activity.

And Asia saw an overall sales rise of 7.5%, thanks in part to a strong improvement in the second half of the year.

Japan was up 6%, while China was particularly favourable, with a second shop in Beijing giving Hermes a total of 13 outlets in the country.

The company has already announced plans to open or refurbish about 30 stores this year, a marked increase on activity in 2004, but would not give any financial guidance for the year.