Demand for luxury goods aids Burberry

Luxury fashion retailer Burberry yesterday smashed City forecasts as shoppers rushed to get this season&rsquo;s latest handbags and accessories. <br /><br />Burberry reported revenue of &pound;343m in the three months ended 30 September, down five per cent at constant currencies, but ahead of analyst forecasts of &pound;320m to &pound;335m.<br /><br />Chief financial officer Stacey Cartwright said the group was pleased with the proportion of goods sold at full price in the second quarter, which she said would boost gross profit margins.<br /><br />Burberry last month celebrated a triumphant return to London Fashion Week, which saw A-list celebrities including Harry Potter star Emma Watson and actress Gwyneth Paltrow deck the front row. The press coverage is said to have boosted sales.<br /><br />Underlying retail revenue rose 16 per cent to &pound;163m, while like-for-like sales were up five per cent. Double-digit percentage growth in Europe and Asia offset similar-sized declines in the United States and Spain.<br /><br />Sales growth was strongest in Britain with tourists flocking to take advantage of refurbished stores and a weaker pound. Like-for like sales at UK standalone stores rose two per cent in the period.<br /><br />Burberry said it expected second-half wholesale revenue to fall an underlying 15 per cent and raised its full-year guidance for licensing revenue to a decline of 5-10 per cent, compared to a fall of 10-15 per cent previously.<br /><br />Evolution Securities analyst Dennis Weber said: &ldquo;Burberry&rsquo;s results are better than what everyone predicted. It is also managing to capture downtrading customers, who are able to move down to its cheaper lines.&rdquo;<br />