Burberry chief against female board quotas

 
Kasmira Jefford
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BURBERRY boss Angela Ahrendts yesterday spoke out against imposing quotas for women on boards as the luxury fashion brand reported better-than-expected half year profits.

Ahrendts, who has been at the helm of Burberry since 2006, is one of only two women running FTSE 100 firms after Cynthia Carroll announced last month she is to step down as chief executive of Anglo American.

Speaking at Burberry’s new global flagship Regent Store yesterday, Ahrendts said it was “about leadership and experience” over gender. Asked why there were not more women on boards she said: “Honestly, it’s just a matter of time. But do you accelerate it? I don’t know.”

The luxury brand, which spooked the market in September when it warned of a slowdown in China, said sales had steadied in the last quarter, with revenues up eight per cent to £883m in the six months to 30 September.

Underlying profit before tax rose six per cent to £173m when stripping out a one-off £73.8m payment Burberry made to end a fragrance and beauty licence with French company Interparfums.

From April next year Burberry will bring fragrance in house, which Ahrendts said she hopes will create a “halo effect” on sales of other products, tempting fragrance shoppers to buy higher priced items.

Ahrendts shrugged off fears of a slowdown in the luxury industry and said forecasts of four to six per cent growth “was still healthier than other sectors”.