Burberry meets expectations with 19 pct sales rise

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LONDON, Oct 16 (Reuters) Burberry Group, the British luxury goods company, said its underlying total revenue rose 19 percent in the half-year, broadly in line with analysts' expectations and helped by a rapid opening of new stores.

Reported total revenue, including currency fluctuations, rose 15 percent to 449 million pounds (5.7 million), Burberry said in a statement on Tuesday.

Three analysts polled by Reuters forecast Burberry's first-half total sales at 446 million pounds to 449 million pounds.

Burberry said it expected the weakness of the yen to reduce reported revenue and profit by about a further 3 million pounds ( million) in the second half.

The group, famed for its signature plaid, expected its core Spanish market to show further weakness in the second half but it said that would be countered by good growth across Europe and the United States.

Costs for its IT roll-out, Project Atlas, would rise to 19 million pounds for the full year from 15 million pounds previously, Burberry said. The total cost for the three-year project is just over 50 million pounds, it reiterated.

''Our new luxury outerwear, apparel and non-apparel collections, combined with our compelling marketing campaigns, have again driven demand in both our retail and wholesale channels,'' Chief Executive Angela Ahrendts said in the statement.

In the first half, retail revenue, accounting for 45 percent of total revenue, increased 25 percent on an underlying basis, with comparable same store sales growth of 11 percent.

Average selling space increased 12 percent with the addition of 11 stores, 13 concessions and two outlets including openings in Italy, the United States and Asia.

Wholesale revenue increased by 16 percent as expected, with a further mid-teens percentage increase forecast for the second half, Burberry said.

Burberry will release its interim results for the six months to Sept. 30 on Nov. 14.

REUTERS DKS DB1253

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