By  on April 18, 2007

LONDON — Second-half revenues at Burberry rose 19.3 percent, to 458 million pounds, or $886 million, from 384 million pounds, or $672.3 million, on the back of strong demand for spring runway looks, outerwear and handbags.

In the full 2006-2007 fiscal year, sales rose 14.4 percent, to 850 million pounds, or $1.61 billion, from 743 million pounds, or $1.33 billion. All figures have been converted from the pound at average exchange rates for the periods to which they refer.

The company issued a trading statement Tuesday, and will release full results for the fiscal year ended March 31 on May 24.

Chief executive Angela Ahrendts said performance in the second half was consistent with expectations, and attributed the latest results to the "significant investment" in retail expansion, operations and a focus on enhancing the "luxury component" of the brand.

Since she took over as company chief last July, Ahrendts has also revamped the brand's selling schedule, increased the number of market weeks, created numerous brand extensions and bulked up the accessories and handbag offer.

Last month, Burberry added a line of performance sportswear for men and women, an at-home collection featuring cashmere robes and velvet slippers and an eveningwear component to its Icons collection of clothing and accessories.

Burberry said in a statement that in the first half of the current 2007-2008 fiscal year, retail selling space would increase 13 percent and the majority of store openings would be in the U.S. and Europe.

Wholesale sales growth is expected to be in the "mid-teens," compared with last year; licensing income is expected to be flat, and expenses from Project Atlas, the operational overhaul program, are on target at 15 million pounds, or $30 million at current exchange.

Commenting on the second half, Ahrendts said end-of-season sales activity in January was reduced, and that customers were enthusiastic about the spring collections.

Sales in all geographical regions rose in the six months up to March 31, the largest growth — percentage wise — coming from Europe. Sales there increased 30 percent, to 144 million pounds, or $278.6 million, from 111 million pounds, or $194.3 million.Growth in all sales channels grew, too; the largest increase came from retail sales, which rose 26 percent, to 241 million pounds, or $466.2 million, from 192 million pounds, or $336.2 million.

Average retail selling space increased by about 14 percent in the half, with the opening of six stores, eight concessions and one outlet.

The statement said the Spain wholesale-to-retail conversion contributed about 8 percentage points to the gain in retail sales.

Wholesale sales rose 14 percent, to 172 million pounds, or $332.7 million, from 151 million pounds, or $264.4 million, powered by increased penetration of core U.S. accounts, Europe and Asia.

The company said wholesale sales were also boosted in the period by Burberry's new stock replenishment program, and by incremental orders stemming from the updated market calendar.

Income from licensing rose 9.8 percent, to 45 million pounds, or $87 million, from 41 million pounds, or $71.8 million, driven mainly by Burberry's new global eyewear made by Luxottica Group, and the latest fragrance, Burberry Summer.

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