Source AP ©

First-half profit of Burberry Group PLC rises 32 percent

Burberry Group PLC achieved a 32 percent rise in first-half profit, buoyed by the sale of its London headquarters and strong growth from new product designs.

Burberry, known for its distinctive beige plaid, posted net profit of 66.1 million pounds (93.6 million EUR; US$136.5 million) in the period ended Sept. 30, up from 49.9 million pounds a year earlier.

Revenue rose 14.6 percent to 449.1 million pounds (636 million EUR; US$928 million) after the introduction of new products such as the metal-studded Knight handbag.

Chief Financial Officer Stacey Cartwright said the average price of a Burberry bag has climbed by more than 25 percent as luxury models generate a larger portion of overall handbag sales.

Cartwright declined to comment on the company's outlook for the U.S. market amid concerns about the credit crisis curbing American consumers' appetite for luxury goods, but said that the fact that Burberry did not lower its full-year guidance should been taken as a sign of "comfort."

Burberry is in the process of adjusting its product mix to increase retail sales compared to wholesale sales and boost the proportion of accessories on offer.

Pretax profits included a 15.1 million pound (US$31.1 million; 21.2 million EUR) gain from the sale of its main office building in central London.

Burberry shares closed 4.5 percent higher at 612 pence (US$12.61; 8.58 EUR).