Burberry second half sales up 18 percent

British luxury brand Burberry Group Plc met forecasts with an 18 percent rise in second half sales, driven by strong sales in Britain, France and China, and said it was positive on the year ahead.

Burberry's Spring-Summer 2012 campaign / Photo: Burberry

The 156-year-old seller of raincoats and leather goods, known for its camel, red and black check pattern, on Tuesday reported total revenues of 1.027 billion pounds for the six months to the end of March, in line with analysts' average forecast of 1.03 billion pounds in a Reuters poll.

The company said retail revenues, which now account for 72 percent of group sales, rose almost a quarter to 743 million pounds and that the outlook was good.

"We are pleased with Burberry's finish to the year across all channels, regions and product divisions," Chief Executive Angela Ahrendts said in a statement.

"Looking ahead, while we remain vigilant about the external environment, our global teams continue to focus on optimising our core brand, digital and cultural initiatives, while investing to drive sustainable, profitable growth."

Wholesale and licensing sales rose 7 percent and 5 percent in the second half, respectively.

The group expects to increase its average retail selling space by up to 14 percent in the current fiscal year and sees mid single-digit percentage growth in wholesale revenues for the first half of 2012/13.

Burberry said underlying revenues rose 15 percent to 453 million pounds in the fourth quarter, helped by continued growth in the United States and emerging markets.

The luxury industry has been on tenterhooks in recent months over worries that Europe's long-running debt crisis could trigger an economic slowdown in emerging markets such as China, where runaway demand for high-end goods has offset weaker trends in the United States and Europe.

Sales and profit at luxury goods companies such as LVMH and Richemont jumped last year but many are braced for a less dramatic rise in 2012 after China cut its growth forecast for this year.

Shares in Burberry, which have risen a third so far this year, closed at 1,586 pence on Monday, valuing the company at around 6.9 billion pounds.

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