Cuban cigar sales rise, defying flat luxury goods market | Reuters

HAVANA Sales of Cuba’s legendary cigars rose 5 percent last year to $445 million, defying stagnation in the global luxury goods market, manufacturer Habanos S.A. said on Monday at the opening of the Caribbean island’s annual cigar festival.

Habanos, which makes brands including Cohiba, Monte Cristo and Romeo y Julieta, said it expects moderate sales growth this year as it continues to tap the Middle East, Asia and other new markets.

“We are quite happy we were able to grow during a year that was in truth quite challenging,” Vice President of Development Javier Terrés told Reuters after holding a news conference hazy with smoke as journalists puffed on complimentary cigars.

Cuba’s monopoly cigar company was kicking off the festival that attracts wealthy tobacco aficionados and retailers from around the world for five days of extravagant parties and tours of plantations and…

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