* Q1 retail revenue 339 mln stg, up 18 pct
* Comparable store sales up 13 pct
* Still expects H1 adjusted pretax profit below last year
* Plans modest increase in FY retail/wholesale margin
LONDON, July 10 (Reuters) - British luxury brand Burberry beat forecasts for the first quarter with an 18 percent jump in sales, boosting its shares and allowing it to maintain its full-year guidance in the face of an otherwise struggling global economy.
The 157-year-old seller of raincoats and leather goods, known for its camel, red and black check pattern, said it made 339 million pounds ($503 million) of retail revenue in the three months to June 30.
That compared with analysts’ average forecast of 316 million pounds, according to a company poll, and 280 million pounds in the same period last year.
The 18 percent rise in first quarter underlying retail revenue was driven by robust demand for spring/summer fashion, the company said.
Comparable store sales growth was 13 percent, ahead of a increase of 8 percent in the fourth quarter of the previous financial year.
Burberry highlighted “an uneven trading environment” and said sales of outerwear and large leather goods accounted for over half the growth, while men’s accessories and tailoring outperformed.
By region, the group saw double-digit comparable store sales growth in Asia Pacific, driven by Hong Kong and China, and the Americas and high single-digit growth in the Europe, Middle East, India and Africa (EMEIA) division.
“Spring/summer 2013 was a standout season driven by innovative marketing,” said Chief Executive Angela Ahrendts.
“Looking forward, the macro outlook remains uncertain and we will continue to focus our investment on profitable high growth opportunities by channel, region and product categories.”
The group is planning to modestly increase its retail/wholesale margin in its full year.
Burberry said in May first half profit would be below last year’s as its focus shifts from wholesale markets - sales through non-Burberry stores - to high-growth Latin American and Asian retail sales from Burberry branded stores.
The firm has also previously guided to a 10 percent fall in first half underlying wholesale revenue, reflecting conservative buying by customers and the firm’s strategic rationalisation of wholesale accounts, particularly in Europe, and of entry price products, particularly in North America.
Shares in Burberry, up 14 percent over the last three months, rose another 3.75 percent on Wednesday after the news, valuing the business at 6.4 billion pounds and helping drive London’s FTSE share index higher.