Burberry profits slip despite lift from weaker pound

Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and James Bay model Burberry clothing. Picture: Contributed
Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and James Bay model Burberry clothing. Picture: Contributed
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Fashion house Burberry has seen its half-year profits take a hit as the benefits of a weaker pound after the Brexit vote were offset by pain in its wholesale and licensing business.

The firm reported an underlying pre-tax profit of £146 million for the six months to 30 September, down from £151.7m during the same period last year.

Revenue at constant currencies slipped 4 per cent to £1.16 billion. However, when accounting for currency fluctuations, they were up by 5 per cent.

The group said retail growth was led by strength in the company’s UK division, where like-for-like sales spiked 30 per cent as tourists flocked to London to take advantage of the drop in sterling in the second quarter.

But that growth was “offset by declines in wholesale and licensing, in part reflecting actions to build and reinforce luxury brand positioning”. Overall licensing profit dropped 53 per cent to £11m.

The company closed 24 stores and concessions globally in the first half of the year, partially offset by 11 openings.

It comes as it embarks on a strategic turnaround plan that has included simplifying its product line, revamping its digital store and cutting costs by as much as £20m over 2017.

Chief executive Christopher Bailey said: “In May we outlined plans to evolve how we work as a business and to drive Burberry’s future growth in a rapidly-changing luxury environment.

“Since then, we have made good early progress towards realising the significant opportunities ahead of us as we begin implementing our five strategies. We remain on track to deliver our financial goals.”

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