Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 30 August 2014

Burberry still in fashion despite global uncertainty

Harry Potter star Emma Watson dressed in Burberry at 2010 London Fashion Week

Fashion house Burberry indicated demand for luxury branded goods, such as its coats and leather bags, remained strong despite the global uncertainty.

The company, which is famous for its red, black and camel check, said bumper sales through its Chinese outlets and flagship stores in London, Paris and New York helped half-year revenues jump by 30% to £830m.

Despite the figures coming in ahead of City hopes, shares opened lower yesterday and have dropped more than 20% since July on fears of a slowdown in China.

Burberry said its Chinese outlets, which it acquired a year ago, showed the same store growth of 30% over the past six months.

Worldwide retail revenues rose by 45%, with like-for-like sales growth up slightly in the second quarter to September 30 to 16%, from 15% in the first three months.

Total retail growth slowed to 42% in the second quarter from 49% in the first. Outerwear and large leather goods accounted for half of the growth, with the Burberry London trench coat range a major contributor.

Chief executive Angela Ahrendts said the company's first half performance "clearly demonstrates" the continued global momentum of the Burberry brand, though the group was prepared to "respond appropriately" if there is any significant change in demand in the luxury sector, she added. David Jeary, an analyst at Investec Securities, said concerns about growth in China have been overdone and the update underlines the strength of the group's strategy. He forecasts profits for the year of £365m. Burberry said wholesale revenues rose by a better-than-expected 20% excluding China.

Licensing revenue rose by 4% but, like the retail arm, both licensing and wholesale's growth slowed in the second quarter compared to the first.

Over the rest of the year, wholesale revenues are expected to slow again and rise by mid-single digits, against 9% in the first half, with licensing to rise by a similar percentage to the first six months.

Margins improved slightly over the half with a modest rise expected for the full year.

Burberry added it expects to add 15% more store space over the rest of the year through between eight and 10 new stores, including a store in Paris and outlets in Latin America and China.

At the end of September, the group had 187 retail stores, 210 concessions, 44 outlet shops and 52 franchises.

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