According to the Financial Times, Burberry is on Goldman Sachs’ ‘conviction buy’ list, and was among the M&A stocks that were supported by a combination of low financing costs, strong balance sheets and increasing corporate confidence in the European macro outlook.
Burberry shares rose three per cent to £17.92 among merger and takeover speculations on the back of Shell’s big move on BG Group. Due to a pick-up in mergers and acquisitions, the FTSE has neared record highs.
Traders suggested that Burberry was being targeted by the US private equity sector, which would make it the top riser in early trading. Burberry gained 4.2 per cent at one stage.
Christopher Bailey, who took over from Angela Ahrendts as Burberry’s CEO , said new products and its latest personalised marketing efforts had also helped to boost sales. He credited a nine per cent year-on-year sales bump in the last six months to its British-made heritage trench coats, scarves and ponchos for a “robust” performance.
Total sales rose ten per cent to £1.4bn in six months.
The strong trading of its products, seen throughout the US and Europe, helped offset the drop in sales in Hong Kong, which has repeatedly been flagged as one of the company’s most important markets.
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Bailey, said: “Total revenue grew by nine per cent underlying and 13 per cent in retail, as customers responded strongly to product innovation, while we continued to invest in digital and retail initiatives, including flagship openings in Los Angeles and Japan.
“We anticipate external challenges will continue in the current year, but remain confident in our long-term strategy to build the Burberry brand and business globally,” he added.
CFO Carol Fairweather suggested that while rival brands have been spending more on digital, Burberry’s “embedded” has been “a cut above the rest”. Burberry’s advanced adoption of technology has been notable given its traditional roots.
“Digital is embedded right through the organisation in everything we do,” she said. “So yes, other people are beginning to invest in digital, but have they got the same advantage to the fact that it’s absolutely embedded in everything?
“Every part of our organisation looks at everything through a digital lens. Other people may be investing, we continue with our investment plans too to innovate as we go.”
But she added that Burberry’s version of click-and-collect, rolled out in 2013, accounted for 20 per cent of all digital sales. The service has now been rolled out in China, with the company “looking forward” to the results.
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