Burberry profit head of forecasts

LONDON Wed Nov 7, 2012 2:17am EST

LONDON Nov 7 (Reuters) - British luxury goods group Burberry beat forecasts with a 6 percent rise in first-half profit as its most wealthy shoppers continued to spend despite a faltering global economy.

The group, best known for its camel, red and black check pattern, said on Wednesday it made a profit before tax and one off items of 173 million pounds ($276 million)in the six months to Sept. 30.

That compared to analyst forecasts of 157-172 million pounds, with a consensus of 167 million pounds, according to a company poll, and 162 million pounds in the same period last year.

Last month Burberry said sales had steadied in the final weeks of its second quarter, reassuring investors rattled by a shock profit warning in September.

Total first-half revenue was 883 million pounds, up 8 percent at constant exchange rates, with first quarter growth of 11 percent slowing to 5 percent in the second.

Burberry said guidance for the second half was unchanged from that issued in October.

However, the firm said the decision to directly operate fragrance and beauty as a fifth product division from April 1 would be broadly neutral to underlying profit in 2013/14 and earnings accretive thereafter.

Shares in the firm, down 16 percent over the last six months, closed Tuesday at 1,240 pence, valuing the business at 5.48 billion pounds.