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Middle East in vogue with Burberry

Burberry, the British fashion brand, reported a 21 per cent increase in sales in the fourth quarter of last year, driven by markets such as the Middle East and China.

Sales at Burberry, the upmarket British fashion brand, were buoyed in the fourth quarter of last year by strong growth across global markets such the Middle East.

Stacey Cartwright, the chief financial officer for Burberry, said the brand had seen "double digit growth" in the Middle East in markets such as the UAE, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

"[The region] is becoming more important within the rest of world," she said. "We are very excited about prospects in the Middle East. We have seen very strong growth out of those markets."

She added that sales had been helped in the region by widespread stimulus and hoped that the brand could continue to meet the growing demand for luxury goods.

"Clearly all the stimulus is helpful," said Ms Cartwright. "We have very strong coverage in the Middle East."

The Chalhoub Group, the biggest luxury retailer in the Middle East, this week said its sales had also been boosted by increased spending among consumers who had benefited from government stimulus and infrastructure investment in the GCC.

Last month, Sheikh Khalifa, President of the UAE, ordered increases in the salaries of all Emirati federal Government employees by 35 per cent to mark the UAE's 40th birthday.

British brands are also currently popular in the UAE after a flood of new openings. Jashanmal launched LK Bennett last year, Chalhoub recently opened Hackett stores across the Emirates, the Ivy restaurant started cooking and Harrys of London shoes set up shop in Marina Mall, Abu Dhabi this month.

Overall, Burberry announced a 21 per cent increase in sales in the fourth quarter of last year, driven by 30 per cent like-for-like store growth in China.

Total revenue was 574m, up 21 per cent, and retail revenue increased 23 per cent to 417m.

The brand, a joint venture in the Middle East with Jashanmal Group, said sales had been helped by the "travelling luxury consumer", which drove outperformance in markets such as London, Paris, Hong Kong and Las Vegas.

It opened new stores in Paris, Brazil and its fourth childrenswear store in the Middle East in the quarter.

"Our investment in flagship markets and digital technology has enabled our global teams to continue to drive customer engagement, enhance retail disciplines and improve operational effectiveness, further strengthening brand momentum," said Angela Ahrendts, the chief executive.

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