Burberry posts strong Christmas sales

Wednesday 15 January 2014 08.14
Burberry warns of currency headwinds
Burberry warns of currency headwinds

British luxury brand Burberry posted a 14% rise in underlying retail revenue in the Christmas quarter.

But the company cautioned that at current levels, exchange rates will be a significant headwind in the rest of its second half.             

The 158-year-old seller of raincoats and leather goods, known for its camel, red and black check pattern, said today it made $528m of retail revenue in the three months to December 31.
              
That compared to analyst's average forecast of £520m, £464m the same time last year and first half growth of 17%.

Comparable store sales rose 12%, compared to 13% in the first half, reflecting double-digit growth in Asia Pacific; and mid to high single-digit growth in the Americas and EMEIA (Europe, Middle East, India and Africa) divisions.
              
"This performance reflects continuing strong brand momentum and our team's intense focus on retail execution, supported by a planned increase in investment in marketing, customer service offline and online and our retail portfolio," said chief executive Angela Ahrendts.
              
Shares in Burberry have fallen 7% since October when it said Ahrendts will step down in the middle of this year to take up a job at Apple and hand over to creative director Christopher Bailey, but are still up 11% over the last year.
             
The jury is still out on whether sales growth in the luxury goods industry this year will match, drop or slightly outpace the 10% rise recorded last year at constant currencies.

Luxury investors are closely monitoring any signs of recovery in China, the industry's former principal engine of growth, hampered by an economic slowdown and the government's crackdown on conspicuous consumption.
              
While demand in the US and Japan is seen as remaining strong and tourist spending in Europe should recover after having suffered in 2013, adverse foreign exchange movements are likely to continue impacting European luxury goods makers' revenues once converted in their home currency.
              
"The macro environment remains uncertain, but we are confident that our proven strategies will continue to deliver long-term value for shareholders," said Ahrendts.