Burberry Mideast sales bounce back -- but don't look for big discounts

Luxury brand plans to exit markdowns at mainline stores

The exterior of a Burberry store is seen in central London, Britain, November 3, 2017.

The exterior of a Burberry store is seen in central London, Britain, November 3, 2017.

REUTERS/Toby Melville

LONDON: British luxury brand Burberry said its Middle East sales started to recover as it reinstated its dividend payment.

But shoppers looking for bargains may be disappointed as the company said it planned to move away from markdowns across its mainline stores.

The luxury brand known for its distinctive check fabric reported a 10 percent decline in sales for the year to March 27. Still, its fourth quarter comparable store sales increased by almost a third from a year earlier, despite an average of 16 percent of stores being closed.

Growth was driven by mainland China, Korea and the US as the Middle East also rebounded, it said in a statement on Thursday.

"Middle East returned to growth in the second half of the year driven by strong local demand and improved tourist flows," it said.

Burberry has an established presence in the Gulf with major outlets in the UAE, including at Dubai Mall and Mall of the Emirates. In Sudi Arabia it has stores in Riyadh and Jeddah.

The company reported an adjusted operating profit of £396 million ($556 million) — beating analyst expectations, but 8 percent lower than its year-earlier performance.

Burberry said it expected to see growth to continue in the year ahead at a high single digit compound annual growth rate.

“This will be underpinned by the continued out performance of full-price sales,” it said in a statement. “We will continue to strengthen brand equity by exiting markdowns in mainline stores in FY22.”

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