May 16, 2018 / 9:19 AM / a year ago

Burberry bags profit rise ahead of Tisci design era

LONDON (Reuters) - Burberry beat profit forecasts on Wednesday as a strategy to re-energise its luxury brand showed early promise ahead of the arrival of its new designer Riccardo Tisci.

The former Givenchy star was appointed in March, replacing Burberry’s creative chief Christopher Bailey, who had turned the trench coat maker into a global brand.

Burberry’s chief executive Marco Gobbetti is repositioning the quintessentially British fashion house in a higher luxury segment and Tisci’s first collection will be shown in September.

“With Riccardo Tisci now on board and a strong leadership team in place, we are excited about the year ahead and remain fully focused on our strategy to deliver long-term sustainable value,” Gobbetti said.

Burberry reported a 2 percent rise in adjusted operating profit of 467 million pounds for the year to end-March. Its shares, which have risen 18 percent since Tisci was appointed, were trading up 3.5 percent at 1,867 pence at 0816 GMT.

“While the task of transforming Burberry is still before us, the first steps we implemented to re-energise our brand are showing promising early signs,” Gobbetti added.

The CEO set out a plan in November to catch up with faster growing luxury goods rivals, but he said there would be little, if any, growth in revenue and operating profit until its 2021 financial year as the programme was implemented.

Tisci’s designs will be key to Gobbetti’s strategy to reinvigorate Burberry, where sales have lagged rivals.

The company reported group revenue of 2.73 billion pounds ($3.7 billion), down 1 percent, although comparable same store sales rose 3 percent, in line with market forecasts.

Bailey’s final runway show, which had a youthful streetwear focus, had been well received, Chief Financial Officer Julie Brown told reporters, with high demand for an edited capsule range of the collection available immediately.

Burberry’s new Belt Bags, which retail at 1,590 pounds, were also proving popular, she said.

Gobbetti wants to increase sales of Burberry’s leather goods, and the company agreed to take over the Italian leather goods supplier that makes the Belt Bag earlier this month.

FILE PHOTO: A handbag on display at a Burberry store in London, Britain, July 15, 2015. REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo/File Photo

Burberry said it had traded in line with its guidance since the start of its financial year on April 1.

Analysts were expecting the company to report adjusted operating profit of 453 million pounds, according to a company-provided consensus of 19 analyst forecasts.

($1 = 0.7401 pounds)

Editing by Kate Holton and Alexander Smith

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