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Burberry posts 10pc profits hike helped by high demand in China

British luxury group Burberry posted a 10pc rise in fourth quarter revenue as strong demand for its more expensive products in China helped it beat sales forecasts for the second half of the year.

The seller of raincoats and leather goods, known for its camel, red and black check pattern, said fourth quarter group sales rose to £503m (€584m), building on better than expected third quarter results after a strong Christmas period.

That took revenue for the six months to March 31 to £1.12bn, ahead of a company-compiled average analyst forecast of £1.1bn.

Last September, Burberry shook the global luxury industry by warning of a spending slowdown, particularly in China – the driving force behind demand in recent years – but it has been more upbeat recently, highlighting a rebound in Chinese demand while posting third quarter sales in January.

Retail sales, which make up 75pc of group revenue, grew 14pc to £376m in its fourth quarter, Burberry said, as higher average spend helped offset lower numbers of shoppers.

Hong Kong

Comparable store sales increased by 7pc, including double-digit rises in China and Hong Kong. It said it expected net new openings to deliver low to mid single digit increase in retail revenue in its 2013/14 year.

Second-half wholesale revenue – or sales through non-Burberry stores – fell 3pc, as expected, due to smaller firms struggling in weak European markets where tourist spending has also shown signs of slowing.

Excluding its beauty division, Burberry said it expects underlying wholesale revenue to decrease by about 10pc in the six months to September 30.

Earlier this month, over half of 23 brands surveyed by Reuters at stores in London, Paris and Milan – including Gucci, Hermes and Jimmy Choo – reported lower demand from tourists, notably from Asia.

This week the owner of luxury brand Louis Vuitton posted the lowest quarterly sales growth since 2009 at its fashion and leather division, while Italian fashion house Prada has outlined plans to expand in the Middle East and the Americas to help offset lower spending in Europe.

(Reuters)

Irish Independent