Burberry buys Chinese retail operations

A real Burberry bag (R) and its counterfeit copy are displayed during the Counterfeit Comparison Exhibition 2009 organised by the Korea Customs Service (KCS) at a convention centre in Seoul May 27, 2009. REUTERS/Jo Yong-Hak

LONDON (Reuters) - Luxury group Burberry BRBY.L said it will buy the stores in China currently operated by its franchisee for 70 million pounds as it continues with moves to unify the brand on a global basis.

The firm said on Friday the deal with Kwok Hang Holdings for 50 stores across 30 cities was expected to add up to 20 million pounds to group operating profit in the 2011-12 year.

“This transaction is in line with Burberry’s strategy of unifying the brand around the world, while at the same time increasing its exposure to retail and to high growth luxury markets,” Burberry said.

The firm plans to drive productivity in existing stores and open new stores.

On Tuesday Burberry beat forecasts with a 24 percent rise in first-quarter underlying revenue.

Shares in the group were up 3.3 percent at 816.5 pence at 8:22 a.m., valuing the business at about 3.57 billion pounds.

Reporting by James Davey, editing by Rhys Jones