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Hermès to Expand French Textile Site

PARIS — Hermès International plans to expand the Pierre-Bénite site of its textile subsidiary, increase production and grow the number of employees there by a quarter, as the firm continues to build capacity to meet a growing appetite for French finery in Asia.  Hermès’ move to reinforce its slowest-growing activity comes as a show of confidence in the division’s potential.  Sales of silk and textiles at Hermès have lagged other divisions, clocking 3.2 percent growth last year, while its saddlery and leather goods division has grown at a brisk pace of 9.4 percent, at constant exchange rates. Hermès has been steadily increasing production of its leather goods workshops, at times unable to meet demand for handbags. Seeking to generate interest in scarves, a house staple over the years, Hermès has set up temporary boutiques, including wash-and-wear popups focused on scarves. The Pierre-Bénite site, which belongs to HTH, the company’s textile subsidiary, will be expanded over the next three years across three buildings with plant-covered patios, adding 120 employees to the current 460. The site specializes in printing and finishing fabrics. HTH counts 860 workers.

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