... but Burberry boss sees a far brighter future
THE boss of Burberry yesterday said Brexit offered ‘enormous’ opportunities – and declared that the fashion house is ‘absolutely committed’ to the UK.
In a major vote of confidence in Brexit Britain from a FTSE 100 company, Burberry president Christopher Bailey described London as ‘an energy hub for the creative industries’.
Mr Bailey, who is also chief creative officer at the company, added that ‘Britishness resonates globally’.
The 46-year-old backed Remain during the referendum campaign but said yesterday: ‘It is a much smaller world today than it has ever been, in terms of being able to trade.
‘We as a business have always traded globally. The possibilities and the potential for growth both locally here in the UK and overseas is enormous.’
The traditional Burberry trench coat is made in Yorkshire. Mr Bailey insisted the firm, whose outfits have been worn by stars such as Kate Beckinsale and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, was committed to keeping manufacturing in the UK – even though plans for a new £50million plant in Leeds have been put on hold. Speaking about the new site, he said: ‘We are just taking a moment just to make sure that we understand the ramifications. There are a lot of moving parts. I’m not sure anybody knows the outcome of Brexit.’
Carla Busazi, an analyst at WGSN, which forecasts trends, said: ‘I think it’s good that a brand that flies the flag for Britain sees Brexit as a positive thing. I’m sure there are a lot of fashion brands who are very concerned about what that might mean for them.’
The boss of FTSE 250 pub chain JD Wetherspoon also waded into the debate – launching a scathing attack on the ‘posturing and threats’ issued by ‘unelected oligarchs from the EU’.
Wetherspoon founder and chairman Tim Martin, whose company owns 900 pubs, said attempts by Brussels to ‘punish the UK’ would backfire as British companies ditch European suppliers. Mr Martin said: ‘As a result of their current posturing and threats, EU negotiators are inevitably encouraging importers like Wetherspoon to look elsewhere for supplies.’
Mr Bailey: With Kate Beckinsale and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley