Burberry first quarter underlying revenues fall, trading tough

LONDON, July 15 (Reuters) - British luxury goods group Burberry (BRBY.L) met forecasts with a 4 percent fall in first-quarter underlying revenues and said on Wednesday 15 July trading conditions remained challenging.

The 153-year-old maker of raincoats and handbags said it had 229 million pounds ($373 million) of revenue in the three months to June 30, up 8 percent on the same period last year. At constant exchange rates, revenues were down 4 percent.

Forecasts ranged from 218-239 million pounds in a Reuters poll of seven analysts.

"Burberry has made a solid start to the year in what remains a challenging environment," chief executive Angela Ahrendts said in a statement.

Retail revenues rose an underlying 12 percent to 148 million pounds, helped by new store openings and a better-than-expected flat performance in comparable store sales.

Double-digit percentage gains in European and Asian markets, led by Britain and South Korea, were offset by double-digit falls in the United States and Spain.

Wholesale revenues dropped an underlying 28 percent and Burberry kept its forecast for a first-half fall of 25 percent.

Licensing revenues fell an underlying 3 percent.

Luxury goods firms have been hit hard in the global economic downturn. However, Burberry, known for its camel, red and black check pattern, responded quickly by cutting costs and around 800 jobs, or about 15 percent of its workforce.

After plunging as much as 70 percent last year, Burberry shares have bounced back from a November low of 154.75 pence. They have outperformed the DJ Stoxx personal and household goods index .SXQP by 100 percent this year, and closed at 426.75 pence on Tuesday 14 July, valuing the business at about 1.8 billion pounds. (Reporting by Mark Potter; Editing by Dan Lalor) ($1 = 0.6147 pound)

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