The continued appeal of Burberry's classic trench coat, as sported by celebrities such as Kate Middleton this year, helped boost sales at the company by 30 per cent as it also looked to soothe fears over growth in China.
The luxury-goods retailer said the rise in sales to £830m in the six months to the end of September from £673m a year earlier, was driven by strong sales of "outerwear" – coats – especially its range of trench coats. Sales of leather goods were also particularly strong.
The Duchess of Cambridge sparked a scramble for Burberry trench coats in March after wearing one on a trip to Belfast, with the make selling out online the next day. The brand is also favoured by the Queen and Kate Moss and advertised by Harry Potter star Emma Watson.
Burberry reported a 45 per cent sales bump to £528m in its first half, as it sold more in existing stores, expanded to new ones and saw strong returns from China.
Last month its shares had tumbled over concerns for the company's growth in the country after economists at Citi downgraded its economic outlook. Beyond the coats and leather bags, initiatives including men's tailoring and accessories, children's clothing and shoes continued to drive growth. Angela Ahrends, Burberry's chief executive, said the performance "clearly demonstrates the continuing global momentum of the Burberry brand".
There was also a solid performance in its flagship markets, including New York, London, Paris and Hong Kong. The wholesale operation rose by one-fifth following sales to the Americas, emerging markets and of travel goods.
The company forecasts that average retail selling space will grow 15 per cent during the second half of its financial year. It hopes to open 25 new stores this year and double its London store space after buying the shop adjoining its own on Regent Street.
The results followed recent comments from its peers in the luxury sector. Rogerio Fujimori, an analyst at Credit Suisse, said last week that it suggested "no discernible impact on sales trends yet" from worsening economic conditions and concerns over sovereign debt in the European Union. Ms Ahrends said Burberry was "fully prepared to respond should it see any significant change in luxury demand".