Burberry posts strong figures as Ahrendts bows out

Luxury clothes and cosmetics retailer Burberry has reported strong growth as Chinese demand lifted revenues by 19% in the six months to the end of March.

The Asian appetite for the fashion house’s famous checked scarfs, as well as handbags and perfumes saw a 19% growth in sales across the region, which boosted overall revenues to £1.3bn.

Coats and leather goods accounted for a large proportion of the company’s core sales, with menswear and women’s beauty products both performing strongly.

The company said that footfall offline “remained soft”, while online traffic grew, and during the period had closed as many stores as it opened.

The robust growth in Asian sales balanced out unremarkable performance in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, where trading was flat.

In America the company’s revenues were up 22%, to £230m.

The strong results will be the last under Angela Ahrendts, whose approach has been recognised as transformative for the British luxury brand. Ahrendts will leave the company at the end of the month to work for Apple.

The figures will no doubt put additional pressure on her successor, Christopher Bailey, who will take the reins in May and will juggle the role with retaining his current position as Burberry’s lead designer.

Ahrendts said: “We are pleased with our second half performance, with total revenue up 19% and retail sales up 13%, underpinned by the planned increase in investment in offline and online retail, innovative customer service and marketing.

“With the management transition well underway, Burberry begins a new year with beauty firmly established as the fifth product division and investment in flagship markets, such as Shanghai, further increasing the brand’s appeal to the core luxury customer at home and when travelling.”

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