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Profit up but Burberry cutting staff

LUXURY goods maker Burberry Group PLC reported yesterday a 30-percent rise in revenues in the final three months of 2008, but said it plans to lay off more than 500 workers in its British and Spanish operations.

For the three months ending December 30, the company's third quarter, Burberry reported revenue of 329 million pounds (US$484 million), up from 254 million pounds in the comparable quarter of 2007. On a constant currency basis, revenue rose 9 percent. Revenue was up in Europe, the Americas and Asia-Pacific, but fell 11 percent in Spain.

"There was an improved retail performance in December, albeit with continuing pressure on gross margin," said Chief Executive Officer Angela Ahrendts.

Despite the rise in revenue, the company announced new layoffs and said it plans to close its Thomas Burberry business, aimed primarily at the Spanish market, leading to about 250 layoffs. In Britain, it expects as many as 290 workers to lose their jobs.


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