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Fashion house Chanel reaffirms its independence as sales and profits rise

By Pascale Denis

By Pascale Denis

PARIS, June 17 (Reuters) - Luxury fashion group Chanel, whose star designer Karl Lagerfeld passed away earlier this year, reported higher annual sales and profits on Monday and once again reaffirmed its independence, stating it was not for sale.

Chanel said its 2018 revenues rose 12.5% to $11.12 billion, while net profits climbed 16.4% to $2.17 billion.

The French fashion house, known for its tweed suits and quilted handbags, enjoyed growth across all of its markets, with Asia-Pacific leading the way with a 19.9% rise in annual sales, compared to a 7.8% rise in Europe and 7.4% in the Americas region.

The label's move last year to release its financial results for the first time since it was founded in 1910 by Coco Chanel fuelled speculation the group was preparing for a sale, despite its consistent denials.

Chief Financial Officer Philippe Blondiaux again told Reuters that the company was not for sale and was not planning any stock market listing.

"We've got to live with the fact that we are one of the most desirable brands in the market. These rumours will unfortunately keep coming back on a regular basis," said Blondiaux.

"Chanel needs to remain independent, in order to have the freedom to make choices that go against the grain, such as no longer using exotic animal skins, or by harmonising prices," he added.

In May, Chanel's new creative chief Virginie Viard delivered her first solo collection for the brand in the wake of Lagerfeld's death, and Blondiaux said Chanel saw Viard as being with Chanel for the long-term. (Reporting by Pascale Denis; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta and Susan Fenton)