Burberry breaks through the £1bn revenue barrier for the first time

Luxury brand Burberry met forecasts for flat profit in a first-half period that saw revenue exceed £1bn for the first time.

The Burberry Prorsum Womenswear catwalk show

The 157-year-old group, best known for its camel, red and black check pattern, made a profit before tax and one-off items of £174m in the six months to September 30.

Last month Burberry, which makes its iconic trenchcoat in Castleford, forecast a first-half profit around the level of the prior year’s £173m.

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Total revenue rose 17 per cent to £1.03bn, driven by a 20 per cent increase in retail revenue to £695m.

Outgoing chief executive Angela Ahrendts said: “We remain focused on executing our retail, digital and marketing strategies in the all-important third quarter and in what remains an uncertain macro environment.”

This was the first update since the group said last month that Ms Ahrendts would step down by mid-2014 to take up a new position with Apple.

She will be succeeded by Halifax-born Christopher Bailey who will also retain his chief creative officer role.

Some Burberry investors reacted cautiously to Mr Bailey’s promotion, arguing that his two roles will not sit easily together.

Burberry, which ended the period with net cash of £208m, is paying an interim dividend of 8.8p, up 10 per cent.

For the full 2013-2014 year it expects new openings to contribute low to mid single-digit percentage growth to retail revenue.

It expects underlying wholesale revenue, excluding beauty, to increase by a mid to high single-digit percentage in the six months to March 31.

The beauty division is expected to deliver wholesale revenue of about £140m.