Luxury fashion brand Burberry praises 'phenomenal' staff in Castleford and Keighley

Luxury fashion brand Burberry said sales are now in line with pre-Covid levels, although business in Europe continues to be down due to the lack of tourists visiting the continent.

Library image of Burberry London Fashion Week show
Library image of Burberry London Fashion Week show

Bosses revealed sales hit £479 million in the 13 weeks to June 26, which was up from £257 million during the same period a year ago during the height of the pandemic.

Bosses at Burberry said the improving sales were down to selling more items at full price and benefiting from the easing of lockdown restrictions as customers looked to go out again.

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Sales of leather goods, outerwear and shoes were all particularly strong. The rest of the year is expected to see a boost in Burberry’s wholesale business.

Marco Gobbetti, Chief Executive Officer, said: "We have made an excellent start to the new fiscal year.

"Full-price sales accelerated as our collections and campaigns attracted new, younger luxury customers to the brand. We saw strong growth across our strategic categories, in particular leather goods and outerwear, and exited markdowns in digital and mainline stores.

"We continued to roll out our new store concept that will transform how customers experience our brand and product in a uniquely British luxury setting. Despite the continuing challenging external environment, we are very pleased with the progress against our strategy. With the company firmly set on a path of growth and acceleration, we are confident of achieving our medium-term goals"

In its business review, Burberry said: "Despite a continuing challenging environment in Q1, we delivered further acceleration in our full-price sales, achieving +26% comparable full-price sales growth in the quarter vs LLY.

"This strong traction was evident across markets where Americas saw full-price comparable store sales more than double, Mainland China increased more than 55% and Korea more than 90% vs LLY.

The statement added: "This was driven by new, local, young customers buying across our core categories. At the same time, we exited in-store markdown this quarter and further reduced the weight of outlets in the mix.

"As a result, our overall comparable store sales were +1% vs LLY, despite the reduction of markdown and outlet sales, and continued disruptions in several markets which resulted in an average 11% of stores being closed in the period. By the end of June, the situation had improved to only 3% of stores closed, but 35% are still operating on reduced hours and business in Europe and much of Asia is still heavily impacted by the significant decline of international tourist traffic."

Julie Brown, Chief Operating and Chief Financial Officer, said she was phenomenally proud of the performance of its employees in Castleford and Keighley.

"We are very proud of them and have supported them throughout. We have not put any on furlough."

A spokesman added: "No employees in the UK were placed on furlough and we maintained pay for all our people who were unable to work when our stores and manufacturing sites were closed.

"We retooled our factory in Castleford, Yorkshire to manufacture non-surgical gowns and we sourced surgical masks through our global supply chain. This amounted to more than 160,000 pieces of PPE that we donated to the UK government and healthcare charities."

Burberry's Yorkshire staff volunteered to make PPE to help out the NHS during the pandemic.

Richard Hunter, Head of Markets at interactive investor, commented “Burberry has bolted out of the blocks in its new financial year, rising to pre-pandemic sales levels virtually across the board."

Susannah Streeter, senior investment and markets analyst, Hargreaves Lansdown, said: ‘’Burberry has a knack of signing up stars to catch the mood of its young and growing fan base. Its campaign featuring Marcus Rashford engaged followers on social media, with its mural of him in Manchester, a magnet for anti-racist campaigners.

"The company’s cachet has acquired another edge of cool with its Olympia handbag campaign featuring singer FKA Twiggs, London DJ Shy Girl and model Kendall Jenner. This line up helped engagement across social media platforms almost double compared to the previous Pocket campaign. Gaming is the next mission on the horizon, with the company tapping into the fast growing desire for NFTs with its collaboration with mythical games.

"It’s launching skins and accessories as non fungible tokens for Blankos Block Party, which are likely to become sought after collectables as the gaming and fashion world collide.