Burberry defies fears over Asia with sales jump

Kasmira Jefford
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BURBERRY once again defied fears yesterday of a slowdown in demand for luxury goods in China after shoppers in the country helped drive a 19 per cent rise in group half-year sales.

The handbag and trenchcoat-maker reported total revenues of £1.2bn and retail sales up 13 per cent to £928m, thanks to double-digit growth in Asia Pacific, led by mainland China, Hong Kong and Korea.

Recent data shows China’s economy grew at its slowest pace in 18 months at the start of 2014 and earlier this month luxury firm Prada warned of slowing sales growth amid a maturing Chinese market.

However Burberry, which just opened its a flagship store in Shanghai, believes its digital strategy – including installing ipads in stores and making goods available online directly after its catwalk shows – was helping it to stand out from rivals and attract young Chinese shoppers.

“We see great opportunity for us still in China, both at home in China and when the Chinese luxury consumer travels abroad,” finance chief Carol Fairweather said.

The Americas reported a 23 per cent rise in retail and wholesale revenues thanks to its beauty business, which it took in-house last year. In Europe, Middle East, India and Africa, revenues rose 21 per cent.

Fairweather warned that profits this year could face a “material” impact if exchange rates stay at current levels.