Burberry’s Second Half Sales Surge on Demand in Asia

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London–Burberry Group Plc reported today that its second half sales rose more than 1 billion pounds thanks to strong sales in Asia Pacific and its own retail stores.

For the quarter ended March 31, Burberry said its total revenue increased 16% to 453 million pounds. For the half year, reported revenues were 1.03 billion pounds, up 19% from 877 million pounds in the prior year.

Revenues from its retail stores, which now account for 72% of total revenues, grew 25% to 743 million pounds in the second half. Excluding currency fluctuations, revenue was up 23% Comparable store sales increased 12% in the half, too.

In its mainline stores, average retail selling price was again the key driver of sales growth, helped by greater penetration of Burberry London in both women’s and men’s apparel. Knitwear, men’s tailoring and accessories grew strongly, as did fragrance and watches, the company said.

Its wholesale revenue rose 7% on both a reported basis to 230 million pounds. “Core outerwear and large leathergoods performed solidly, helped by replenishment,” the company noted.

Licensing revenue was 54 million pounds, up from 50 million pounds a year ago. The company said there was “excellent growth” from the three global product licences–fragrance, watches and eyewear.

China Now Accounts for 10% of Revenue

By region, sales in Asia Pacific grew 37%, while Europe posted 11% increases. In the Americas, sales rose 7% while the rest of the world revenues were up 27%.

As with other recent reports from luxurygoods companies, Asia is fueling the sales increases. Stacey Cartright, Burberry’s chief financial officer, told analysts in a conference call this morning that “Asia is hugely important…China is now 10% of our retail and wholesale market and we expect it to continue to gain share and become one of the biggest markets, just as you’re hearing from any other luxury player.”

Burberry forecast mid-single-digit growth in wholesale revenue in the first half of fiscal 2013, along with double-digit growth from its global retail network. Burberry opened 11 mainline stores and closed six during the second half and expects to open 15 mainline stores in fiscal 2013, including a five-story store in Chicago. Average retail selling space is expected to rise 12% to 14% over the year.

“Looking ahead, while we remain vigilant about the external environment, our global teams continue to focus on optimizing our core brand, digital and cultural initiatives, while investing to drive sustainable, profitable growth,” said Angela Ahrendts, ceo.

Noting Burberry’s 1 billion plus pounds in sales, Luca Solca, global head of European research at Crédit Agricole’s Chevreux, said: “It has graduated to mega-brand status, in the same league as Vuitton, Gucci, Prada.”

“The update today is broadly in line versus both our and consensus expectations. Guidance for 2013 is also broadly in line with our assumptions, and overall we view this as reassuring,” said Investec analyst Bethany Hocking.


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