Burberry profits fall 24 per cent despite Brexit boost

 
Emma Haslett
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Burberry's profits fell as it continued its restructure (Source: Getty)

Burberry reported plummeting profits in the first half of the year - but added that the fall in sterling had pushed up comparable sales by 30 per cent in the UK. Silver linings?

The figures

Underlying pre-tax profits fell 24 per cent to £146m in the six months to the end of September, as revenues fell to £1.2bn, down four per cent on an underlying currency basis or up five per cent on a reported FX basis.

Retail sales rose to £859m in the six months to the end of September, up from £773.6m last year. On an underlying basis, that's two per cent higher - but at reported exchange rates, it was 11 per cent higher. Swings and roundabouts.

Meanwhile, sales in its licensing and wholesale arms were rather less impressive, with wholesale sales falling six per cent on a reported FX basis to £286.7m, while sales in its licensing arm fell 51 per cent to £12.8m.

It added that sales improved in the second quarter, rising two per cent after a three per cent fall in the first quarter.

And retail accounted for over 85 per cent of revenue in Asia Pacific - which, given the strength of the yen right now, could be just the ticket today...

Why it's interesting

Burberry is that rare thing for a British retailer: a massive exporter. As the likes of Marks & Spencer reduce their presence on foreign shores, Burberry has ploughed further into Asia. During the downturn that looked like a wise choice - but now, Asian consumers are rowing back on their spending.

The company's ongoing restructuring - which included replacing its chief executive, Christopher Bailey and cutting its headcount (although that was before the Brexit vote) - is costing it dear. It took a £26.1m hit on its beauty license asset, made up of makeup and perfumes.

Still, there's no denying the Brexit vote has helped: in October the brand said the fall in sterling could push up full-year profits by £125m. Today it added that the "travelling luxury customer" had pushed comparable sales in the UK up 30 per cent.

Shares have jumped since the EU referendum, from 1,133p to 1,466p last night - however, they plunged 3.71 per cent at the open this morning.

What Burberry said

Bailey said:

In May we outlined plans to evolve how we work as a business and to drive Burberry's future growth in a rapidly-changing luxury environment. Since then, we have made good early progress towards realising the significant opportunities ahead of us, as we begin implementing our five strategies. We remain on track to deliver our financial goals.

In short

Burberry is presumably hoping the pound's weakness holds...

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