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Burberry notched up a 3 per cent rise in comparable sales in its second half led by an “exceptional” performance in the UK and a welcome return to growth in its Chinese market.
The UK fashion group said retail revenues were up 3 per cent to £1.268bn in the six months ending in March (stripping out currency effects) and 19 per cent when reported at currency exchange rates.
Total revenues however slipped 1 per cent, or 19 per cent at currency exchange rates, on the back of a shrinking US market and Burberry’s “destocking” in its beauty range as it prepares a new partnership with make-up brand Coty.
Earlier this month, Burberry abandoned its own experiment with developing a fragrance business announcing it would be teaming up with Coty in a franchise operation. The shift helped push down Burberry’s wholesale revenues by 13 per cent, with half of the falls from the beauty division.
Known for its trademark trench coats, Burberry said its first half sales were buoyed by its accessories range including a double digit rise in leather goods.
Growth in the US and Americas declined on the back of a stronger dollar and “strategic actions taken to protect brand positioning in the highly promotional US environment” said Burberry.
China sales rose in the “high single digits” but fell in Hong Kong and Korea to deliver single-digit growth in Asia as a whole. The UK proved to be an “exceptional” area of growth and was coupled by improving business in France.
Christopher Bailey, chief executive and chief creative officer said:
In an uncertain environment, we continue to take action to strengthen the brand and reposition Burberry for growth. The outperformance of fashion and the strong customer response to new products underline our renewed creative momentum.