Belfast Telegraph

Burberry plans to expand after a 30% surge in sales

Fashion house Burberry has unveiled plans to expand its store space by more than 10% after a bumper finish to its financial year.

The 155-year-old maker of raincoats and handbags reported a 32% surge in revenues to £390m in the three months to March, which it said would result in full-year profits being at the top end of expectations.

The firm, best known for its camel, red and black check, said it would increase store space by 12% to 13% in average retail selling space in the financial year to March 2012, mainly in China, Latin America and the Middle East.

The retailer warned licensing revenues in Japan, where a licensed dealer sells Burberry goods to around 800 outlets, would be broadly flat throughout the year.

Burberry and the luxury sector has experienced a more rapid recovery than the rest of the retail sector, driven by demand from Chinese shoppers and tourists.

Angela Ahrendts, Burberry chief executive, said: "Burberry had a strong finish to the year, driven by our design, digital marketing and retail initiatives, as well as good early progress in China."

She added: "While the luxury industry faces global challenges in the year ahead, we remain confident in our team's ability to outperform, underpinned by the consistent execution of our key strategies."

The group said retail revenues were up 42% to £596m in the six months to March, while wholesale revenues gained 14% to £214m in the same period.

The fashion house said retail growth was driven by its new stores in China, but that all regions experienced double-digit growth.

It said its Burberry Prorsum and Burberry London brands outperformed. The company opened seven stores in the final six months of the year, in New York, Milan, Beijing and Shenzhen in China, Delhi, Sao Paulo and Puebla in Mexico.

Wholesale revenues were similarly driven by a surge in sales in China, but the Americas and Asia Pacific also outperformed, Burberry said.

The firm's licensing division saw revenues decline 5% to £50m but this was in line with expectations as growth was offset by the planned termination of the Japanese leather goods licence in 2010.