Burberry feels the coronavirus bite as majority of its stores close

By guest author Elias Jahshan from Retail Gazette

Over 60 % of Burberry’s stores in Europe, the Middle East, India and Africa have closed as due to lockdowns

  • In the Americas, more 85 % of stores have closed, but in China most of its stores have reopened
  • Luxury fashion retailer warns that its store sales likely to take a 30 % hit
  • Most of Burberry’s European and American stores have closed as high streets have been hit in the bid to limit the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, the retailer revealed.
Caption courtesy by Retail Gazette

More than 60 % of stores in Europe, the Middle East, India and Africa, and 85 % of those in the Americas are shut as the battle against Covid-19 continues.

In an earlier-than-expected trading update which was brought forward because of the outbreak, Burberry warned that its in-store sales were likely to take a 30 % hit due to the impact of the virus in the fourth quarter of the year.

Meanwhile, footfall in the stores that are still open is “very weak” and opening hours have been slashed.

Burbery said that since January 24, sales have deteriorated by around 40 % to 50 %.

“Since our February update, the material negative effect of Covid-19 on luxury demand has intensified and is now impacting the industry in all regions,” chief executive Marco Gobbetti said.

The heritage British label warned investors that it was expecting to close more stores in coming days.

However, there is some good news out of China, one of Burberry’s core markets and where most of its stores have reopened since the peak of coronavirus in that country passed.

“Our primary concern is the global health emergency and we continue to take every precaution to help prevent the spread of the virus and ensure the safety and wellbeing of our employees, partners and customers,” Gobbetti said.

“Burberry accelerated the release of its trading update to warn on just how bad trading conditions are at this time and how poor the fourth quarter of 2020 is set to be,” said Flavio Cereda and Kathryn Parker, analysts at Jefferies.

They added: “Expect to see very significant markdowns once stores reopen in Europe and the US and even that timing is uncertain.”

Gobbetti said: “We are implementing mitigating actions to contain our costs and protect our financial position, underpinned by our strong balance sheet. We remain confident in our strategy and the strength of our brand and I am exceptionally proud of our teams’ resilience and commitment.”