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(Reuters) – British luxury brand Burberry (BRBY.L) said on Thursday the popularity of collections by its new chief designer Riccardo Tisci helped the group make up for lost sales in Hong Kong in the first half and it was sticking with year-end targets.
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Chief Executive Marco Gobbetti is moving Burberry further upmarket in the luxury segment and Tisci came on board last year. His designs now account for 70% of the products in store.
Gobbetti said Burberry remained on track to deliver the first phase of his turnaround strategy despite the unrest in Hong Kong which has affected sales in the top luxury shopping destination.
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Sales in Hong Kong fell by a “double digit” amount in its first half and the company expects trading in the former British territory to remain under pressure.
Nevertheless, Burberry, famous for its trench coats, reported first-half revenue of 1.28 billion pounds ($1.64 billion), up 3% in constant exchange rates. Comparable store sales in the second quarter rose 5%, up from 4% in the first.
The shares rose 5.2% higher at 0953 GMT.
“We delivered financial results in line with guidance despite the decline in Hong Kong and we confirm our outlook for FY 2020,” Gobbetti said.
Burberry expects broadly stable top-line growth and adjusted operating margin for the year but warned on Thursday that gross margin for 2019-20 will be down around 150 basis points, 50 basis points worse than its previous forecast, partly due to the civil unrest in Hong Kong which shows no sign of abating.
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“We have seen a significant decline in Hong Kong across the half, largely driven by a fall in Chinese visitor spend,” Chief Financial Officer Julie Brown told reporters.
“In order to protect our staff at times we have closed stores where there have been protests occurring,” she said.