Luxury fashion group Burberry on Tuesday reported a better-than-expected 32 per cent surge in first half earnings to £55.1 million from £41.6m in the year-ago period.

The company, famous for its beige check designs, floated earlier this year and posted a 15 per cent climb in first half revenues to £271m on the back of strong demand for its traditional women's wear collections.

Underlying retail sales jumped 17 per cent in the April to September period while wholesale sales increased eight per cent and licensing revenue rose 14 per cent.

Chairman John Peace said: "This is strong performance, particularly in the light of the difficult trading conditions and demonstrates that the business is on track to achieve the goals set out during the IPO process.

Chief executive Rose Marie Bravo said demand for classic women's fashion was strong: "It's our traditional categories, outdoor wear, rainwear, accessory ranges, cashmere scarves, day to evening wraps, handbag ranges, some of our classic ranges especially," she said.