Chief operating officer quits
Fashion house Burberry is cautiously optimistic ahead of the key Christmas season despite the resignation of its chief operating officer.

Burberry said operating profit slipped 2 per cent to£75.8 million as the group unveiled interim results this morning.

Rose Marie Bravo, the outgoing chief executive, who is credited with reinventing the Burberry brand, said: 'With cold weather arriving and the holidays approaching, we enter our most important time of the year with cautious optimism.'

However, Brian Blake, the company's president and chief operating officer, is to step down for family reasons. Chairman John Peace said: 'Brian's contribution to our global operations has been significant, we wish him every success in the future.'

Retail revenues at Burberry increased to£124.2 million, driven by new or re-furbished stores, including the acquisition of 12 retail locations in Taiwan during August.

Numis retail analyst Steve Davies noted: 'Operating profits were pretty much in line with our forecast at£78.8 million. We have already had the trading update for H1, but just to recap on the highlights: Spain and the UK were weak, whereas China and Korea enjoyed strong growth. In our view, Far Eastern markets still represent the biggest opportunity for Burberry.'

Parent company GUS, which in May announced plans to spin off its remaining 65.5 per cent, will provide details of the demerger on Thursday.

Bravo is to hand over the helm of the company in July to Angela Ahrendts, executive vice-president of Liz Claiborne. Bravo will remain at Burberry as vice chairman.