x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Burberry stays ahead of trend to meet regional luxury goods demand

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.

Double-digit growth in Middle East sales helped the British fashion brand Burberry to beat earnings expectations.

Stacey Cartwright, the chief financial officer for Burberry, said the brand had benefited from strong performances during the fourth quarter 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 Burberry would continue to meet the growing demand for luxury goods.

"Clearly all the stimulus is helpful," Ms Cartwright said. "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.

Sheikh Khalifa, President of the UAE, ordered 35 per cent increases in the salaries of all Emirati federal Government employees last month to mark the 40th anniversary of the founding of the Emirates.

British brands are also popular in the UAE after a flood of new openings. Jashanmal Group launched LK Bennett last year, Chalhoub recently opened Hackett stores in the Emirates, the Ivy restaurant branched out to Dubai and Harrys of London shoes set up shop in Abu Dhabi's Marina Mall 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 £574 million (Dh3.24 billion), up 21 per cent, and retail revenue increased 23 per cent to £417m.

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

Burberry opened new stores in Paris, Brazil and its fourth children's wear 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.