Burberry profits inch higher

London (AFP) –


Burberry, the luxury British fashion house, announced Wednesday a slight rise in annual profits following a strategy overhaul under new chief executive Marco Gobbetti.

Net profit rose 2.4 percent to £294 million ($397 million, 336 million euros) in the year to March 31 compared with 2016/17, Burberry said in a statement, as solid growth in China helped offset a sluggish performance in the UK.

Revenues dipped one percent to £2.7 billion at the brand famous for its trademark check pattern. This was offset however by better-than-expected cost savings.

Burberry meanwhile said that it expected no change to a previous guidance of "broadly stable revenue" over the next two years.

In early trading, shares in the group rose 1.6 percent to £18.33 on London's benchmark FTSE 100 index, which was up 0.2 percent overall.

Burberry said it planned to repurchase £150 million worth of its shares, which analysts said should offer support to the stock's value.

"In a year of transition, we are pleased with our performance as we began to execute our strategy," Gobbetti said in the statement.

"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, who last year took over from Christopher Bailey, has implemented plans to turn Burberry into an even more luxurious brand, while revamping also stores and closing others.

He has appointed Riccardo Tisci, who he worked with at Givenchy, as Burberry's chief creative officer.

Tisci replaced Bailey, who stepped down from the dual role of CEO and chief creative officer.

"With Riccardo Tisci now on board and a strong leadership team in place, we are excited about the year ahead," Gobbetti added.

Earlier this week, Burberry set out plans to transform its leather goods offering through the purchase of a luxury leather goods business from longstanding Italian partner CF&P.