China drives Burberry first-quarter sales jump

LONDON :British luxury fashion brand Burberry reported an 18 per cent rise in first-quarter comparable store sales on Friday, meeting market expectations thanks to a continued rebound in China.

Sales in mainland China, its biggest market, were up 46 per cent in the 13 weeks to July 1, reflecting the country’s emergence from COVID-19 lockdowns last year.

The FTSE 100 group’s trading statement also said that sales in Europe rose 17 per cent on demand from U.S. and Middle East tourists.

The Americas, however, remained a weak spot. Quarterly sales were down 8 per cent, having dropped by 7 per cent in the previous quarter.

“I think (demand from) the aspirational shopper has weakened a little … but we’re picking up in the higher net worth individual cohort, and they’re buying higher-priced products in leather goods and outerwear,” interim finance chief Ian Brimicombe told reporters.

Brimicombe said more tourists appeared to be returning to continental Europe rather than London and that Burberry was pressing the British government for a new sales tax scheme to attract them.

The 167-year-old business, known for its trench coats, also reiterated its guidance of low double-digit revenue growth for its 2024 financial year.

Shares in the company were flat in early trade on Friday.

Chief Executive Jonathan Akeroyd said outerwear and leather goods were performing well and he was excited about new products from designer Daniel Lee arriving in stores in September.

Lee, who joined in September, unveiled his debut collection at London Fashion Week in February.

Like-for-like leather goods sales increased 13 per cent, with women’s bags, especially the Frances shapes and vintage Burberry check performing well, the company said.

“Burberry is undergoing something of a quiet revolution at a time when other luxury brands, such as LVMH and Richemont, are consolidating their own leading positions,” Interactive Investor’s Richard Hunter said of the British brand’s efforts to push into the top end of the luxury market.


Source: Reuters