Burberry sales inch up in ‘transition’ period

Burberry has announced a 3 % rise in comparable sales for the first quarter of 2018, as the luxury brand undergoes a “period of transition” ahead of Riccardo Tisci’s first season as chief creative officer.

Retail revenues rose to GBP 429 million for the 13 weeks to 30 June 2018, fuelled by growing sales in Asia. Mainland China, Hong Kong and Korea recorded the strongest growth. However, Europe, Middle East, India and Africa sales declined by “a low single-digit percentage”, as a result of lower tourist demand.

Digital performed strongly, and mobile is now the largest digital channel for the brand. Burberry also reported that its digital tie-up with Farfetch is performing ahead of expectations. The partnership, which was announced in February, integrates Burberry technology into the Farfetch operating system, and the entire Burberry inventory is available via the platform.

The results come during what the company referred to as a “period of transition”, as Riccardo Tisci prepares to debut his first complete collection for the brand at London Fashion Week in September, following the departure of Burberry veteran Christopher Bailey earlier this year.

Tisci’s tenure is set to create a shift in Burberry’s selling model, which will include frequent and “unexpected” product drops, in a bid to engage consumers. Limited edition pieces from Tisci’s inaugural collection will be available to buy through a series of “instant drops” in September, and a collaboration with Vivienne Westwood, comprising a selection of ”re-imagined iconic styles”, will launch in stores in December. Tisci announced the collaboration last week, through a series of posts on his personal Instagram feed.

Commenting on the results, Marco Gobbetti, chief executive officer of Burberry, said: “The team has embraced Riccardo’s creative vision and is working well together as we prepare for his debut collection in September, the next step in our journey.

“While we know it will take time to achieve our ambitions, our progress to-date and the energy in and around the company give me confidence for the future.”

In May, Burberry announced its full-year adjusted operating profit for the year to 31 March 2018, was up 5% year on year to GBP 467 million, as revenue remained largely flat, dropping 1 % to GBP 2.7 billion.