* Q3 revenues 574 mln stg vs forecast 569 mln
* Q3 like-for-like sales up 13 pct; forecast up 12 pct
* Strong demand from Asia-Pacific and tourists
* US results hit by fewer sales to dept store outlets
* Shares down 1.9 pct
By Mark Potter
LONDON, Jan 17 British luxury brand
Burberry Group Plc reported a sharp slowdown in U.S.
sales growth as it chose to cut back supplies for department
stores to sell through their discount outlets, knocking its
The 156-year-old seller of raincoats and leather goods,
known for its camel, red and black check pattern, said on
Tuesday it wanted to focus on more profitable full-price sales
and was seeing no overall moderation in demand.
The group met forecasts with a 22 percent rise in
third-quarter revenue. Some analysts said the figures were
flattered by a pulling forward of wholesale orders and that the
firm's full-year guidance implied little growth in
fourth-quarter wholesale sales.
"Nothing wrong with the overall numbers, however the poor
performance in the U.S. and the weak 4Q guidance may worry the
market," Liberum analysts said in a research note.
At 0915 GMT, Burberry shares were down 1.9 percent at 1,275
pence, the biggest fall at that time by a European blue chip
Luxury goods shares have wobbled in recent months amid signs
of a slowdown in economic growth in China, the engine of recent
strong demand for high-end goods, and fears the euro zone debt
crisis could drag the world back into recession.
Jeweller Tiffany and watchmaker Swatch last
week warned of slower growth.
However, Swiss luxury group Richemont on Monday
said its third-quarter sales held up well.
Burberry's shares, which rocketed around 10 times in value
from November 2008 to July 2011, are trading well below their
peak of 1,610 pence, but also clear of their October low of
ASIANS AND TOURISTS
Burberry said it made 574 million pounds ($880 million) of
revenue in the three months to Dec. 31, just above analysts'
average forecast of 569 million in a Reuters poll.
Finance chief Stacey Cartwright said the slowdown in growth
from 29 percent in the first half was due to tougher comparable
figures the year before and demand from Asian shoppers and
tourists in particular remained strong.
Sales in the Asia-Pacific region jumped 39 percent to 210
million pounds, accounting for the largest proportion of the
total, while strong demand from travellers drove sales in major
cities such as London, Paris and Hong Kong.
Sales growth in the Americas, however, slowed to 4 percent
from 20 percent in the first half.
Cartwright said this was due to the group's decision to cut
back sales to the discount outlets of department stores and
focus on more profitable full-price sales. Demand in Burberry's
own stores in the Americas remained strong, she added.
Sales at retail outlets open over a year climbed 13 percent
for the group as a whole, just ahead of a forecast 12 percent
increase, though down from 16 percent in the first half.
Burberry said it was pressing ahead with its expansion plans
while remaining mindful of the difficult economic backdrop.
It expects retail selling space to rise 13-14 percent in the
second half, down from around 15 percent previously, due in part
to the closure of some concessions in Spain.
Cartwright said southern European shoppers were showing more
strain from the euro zone debt crisis than those in the north.
Burberry remained comfortable with analysts full-year
consensus forecast for underlying profits to grow by about a
quarter to 375 million pounds, she added.
The group said wholesale revenues rose 15 percent at
constant currencies, helped by a rephasing of deliveries to the
third quarter from the fourth. It expects wholesale revenues for
the second-half to rise by a mid-single digit percentage.