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LONDON — Burberry is riding the retail wave to higher revenue.
Vigorous retail sales and a well-received spring collection drove up Burberry revenue 6 percent, to 390 million pounds, or $683 million, from 368 million, or $644 million, in the second half of the fiscal year ended March 31.
Burberry said in a statement Wednesday that revenue for the full fiscal year rose 5 percent, to 753 million pounds, or $1.3 billion, from 716 million pounds, or $1.25 billion, propelled by the company's increasing roster of retail outlets.
"Retail operations were the highlight of Burberry's fourth quarter," Rose Marie Bravo, Burberry's chief executive officer, who will step down on July 1, said in the statement. She will be replaced by Angela Ahrendts, who began working at the company in January.
"Consumers' favorable response to spring merchandise, particularly women's wear, and an exciting advertising campaign contributed to strong retail performance," Bravo added, referring to the "Golden Moments" campaign to mark the 150th anniversary of the company.
Burberry, which did not break out its fourth-quarter sales, plans to release complete full-year results, including earnings, on May 25.
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Burberry's chief financial officer Stacey Cartwright said in an interview that the 2005-'06 fiscal year was the "tipping point" for retail sales. The company has been focusing on building its retail channels and reducing wholesale ones. This year, retail and wholesale sales are almost equal, compared with 52 percent wholesale sales and 37 percent retail sales in the last fiscal year.
Burberry's purchase of 12 retail locations in Taiwan last August, and its strategic shift from wholesale to retail channels in Spain, a major market for the brand, are bearing fruit. And Cartwright said that even stripping out revenue gains from the new stores, Burberry's retail sales rose 6 percent in the fourth quarter.
"What we're seeing is a real momentum building in our main, established stores," she said.
In the current fiscal year, Burberry plans to pump up retail space by at least 10 percent, mostly in the U.S. and Asia. The company said first-half wholesale sales are up a "low-single-digit" percentage, based on orders for fall 2006.