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Burberry Q3 sales smash forecasts

By Reuters

British luxury goods group Burberry smashed third-quarter revenue forecasts and predicted annual profit towards the top of market expectations, adding to evidence that the rich are spending again.

The 154-year-old maker of upmarket raincoats and handbags also said on Tuesday it expected further profit growth in 2010-11.

Luxury goods firms have been hit hard in the recession but Burberry has coped better than most because it reacted quickly by slashing costs, jobs as well as its stock and range.

The group, known for its camel, red and black check, said underlying revenue increased 12 per cent to £380 million (Dh2.29bn) in the three months ended December 31. That compared with analysts' consensus forecast for a rise of three per cent, according to a company poll of 12, and a first-half decline of five per cent.

Shares in Burberry, which have nearly trebled over the last year, closed at 599.5 pence on Monday, valuing the business at £2.6bn.

Burberry said retail sales rose an underlying 16 percent, with growth in all regions led by Europe and Asia Pacific, while wholesale revenue increased an underlying five per cent, driven by earlier and more frequent deliveries.

The firm raised its wholesale guidance for the second-half to down between 10 and 12 per cent at constant currency from down 15 per cent previously.

"Burberry has delivered a strong performance in both retail and wholesale, as customers around the world responded positively to our collections, marketing and service initiatives," said Chief Executive Angela Ahrendts.

"As a result we currently expect adjusted profit before tax for this financial year to be towards the top end of market expectations," said Ahrendts."


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