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Burberry eyes UK retail advance

Burberry is gearing up for a retail and concessions push in the UK, but is reining in its wholesale business after the company reported flat annual profits.

The luxury goods group, whose sales jumped 14% to £850.3 million for the year to March 31, said trading at its three London stores was up by double digits on last year and it now planned to expand outside the capital. Pre-tax profits fell slightly to £156.3m from £157m.

Chief financial officer Stacey Cartwright said the UK was still an "under-penetrated" market for Burberry, accounting for less than 10% of sales. "We opened our first store outside London this year, in Manchester, and we're looking for more UK sites," she said.

Retail sales grew by 24% for the period and now make up 48% of total sales. Cartwright expected that to rise to 50% next year.

Chief executive Angela Ahrendts said the concessions model would be key to Burberry's growth. "We'll double our space in Harrods and aim to introduce menswear too," she said. "But our wholesale growth is about penetrating existing concessions, rather than opening new accounts."

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