Burberry sales growth slows

LONDON Wed Jul 11, 2012 2:54am EDT

LONDON (Reuters) - British luxury brand Burberry (BRBY.L) posted a slight slowdown in quarterly sales growth as trading conditions worsened in its markets.

The 156-year-old firm, famous for its raincoats lined with a distinctive camel, red and black check pattern, said on Wednesday revenue was 408 million pounds ($632 million) in the three months to the end of June, its fiscal first quarter, an underlying increase of 11 percent.

That was down from growth of 15 percent in the fourth quarter of the previous year and compares with analysts' consensus forecast for growth of 13 percent, according to a company poll.

Chief Executive Angela Ahrendts described the firm's performance as "robust ... against a more challenging external environment."

Burberry's and other luxury goods firms' shares have wobbled in recent months over worries about Europe's debt crisis and slowing growth in some emerging markets like China, where runaway demand for high-end goods has offset weaker trends in the United States and Europe.

Burberry shares closed Tuesday at 1,284pence, valuing the business at 5.5 billion pounds.

The group's retail revenue was up an underlying 14 percent to 280 million pounds, with comparable store sales up 6 percent, led by growth in the UK, France, Germany and China.

Wholesale revenue rose an underlying 9 percent to 102 million pounds, in line with company guidance.

However, licensing revenue fell an underlying 5 percent to 26 million pounds, impacted by the phasing of license terminations.

Burberry said talks with Interparfums were continuing regarding the potential establishment of a new operating model for the Burberry fragrance and beauty business. ($1 = 0.6454 British pounds)

(Reporting by James Davey)

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