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Burberry holiday sales miss estimates as Gobbetti pushes change

[PARIS] Burberry Group's holiday sales fell short of estimates as chief executive officer Marco Gobbetti began implementing his plan to give the UK-based trench-coat maker a high-fashion facelift.

Retail revenue rose two per cent on a comparable basis for the quarter ended Dec 31, the London-based company said Wednesday, missing the 4 per cent growth predicted by analysts in a Bloomberg News survey. 

Mr Gobbetti revealed plans in November to boost the brand's image with flashier stores and a focus on handbags. The shares fell the most in five years that day as investors digested the costs of the plan.

As designer and former CEO Christopher Bailey prepares to leave the company, it's unclear who will design the "it" bags that are central to the brand's upmarket ambitions. Burberry did not provide any updates on the search for a new creative director.

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The company on Wednesday left its guidance for operating profit in the full fiscal year unchanged, saying it was on track toward the new CEO's strategic goals. Quarterly revenue in the US, a persistent problem area, was flat.

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