Burberry gears up for new de­signer

Fash­ion house warns over fall in UK tourist num­bers

Yorkshire Post - Business - - FRONT PAGE - Ros Snowdon CITY ED­I­TOR @ RosSnow­donYPN

Burberry is gear­ing up for the first col­lec­tion from its new chief cre­ative of­fi­cer, Ric­cardo Tisci.

The lux­ury re­tailer is part way through repo­si­tion­ing the la­bel to be more up­mar­ket and is pin­ning its hopes on Mr Tisci, the for­mer Givenchy star who has de­signed cos­tumes for Bey­once and Madonna, to help trans­form the quintessen­tially Bri­tish fash­ion house.

Lux­ury re­tailer Burberry re­ported a healthy sales in­crease in its first quar­ter ahead of the first col­lec­tion in Septem­ber from the group’s new de­signer.

Burberry said sales rose three per cent in the 13 weeks to June 30 to £ 479m, but warned that tourist num­bers are fall­ing in the UK.

The firm said it re­mains com­mit­ted to its man­u­fac­tur­ing sites in Castle­ford and Keigh­ley and it has no plans to de­velop the 10 acres of land it owns in Leeds next to the Grade I listed Tem­ple Works build­ing.

Last year Burberry let an op­tion lapse on the Grade I listed Tem­ple Works build­ing in Leeds’s South Bank. The firm said it still owns land in Leeds and re­it­er­ated that it is com­mit­ted to York­shire.

The lux­ury fash­ion brand had been con­sid­er­ing whether to de­velop the 10 acres of land it owns next to the build­ing or whether to main­tain the sites it cur­rently owns at Castle­ford and Keigh­ley in York­shire. An­other op­tion was to build a new green field site.

The firm said its Burberry Busi­ness Ser­vices site at 6 Queen Street in Leeds city cen­tre is per­form­ing well and is al­ready gen­er­at­ing sav­ings and help­ing to im­prove ser­vice.

The new of­fice has brought to­gether teams from fi­nance, HR and pro­cure­ment, cus­tomer ser­vices and IT and it is on track to em­ploy 400 peo­ple by the end of the year.

Burberry warned that sales in the UK and Europe have been af­fected by weaker tourist de­mand, but Chi­nese tourists have driven sales in Hong Kong, Korea and Ja­pan.

The Asia Pa­cific re­gion drove growth in Burberry’s dig­i­tal sales, with mo­bile sales now mak­ing up the largest pro­por­tion of pur­chases made on­line.

Marco Gob­betti, Burberry’s chief ex­ec­u­tive, said: “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.”

Burberry is gear­ing up for the first col­lec­tion from its new chief cre­ative of­fi­cer, Ric­cardo Tisci.

Mr Gob­betti is part way through repo­si­tion­ing the la­bel to be more up­mar­ket and is pin­ning his hopes on Mr Tisci, the for­mer Givenchy star who has de­signed cos­tumes for Bey­once and Madonna, to help trans­form the quintessen­tially Bri­tish fash­ion house.

Pieces from the col­lec­tion will be launched through “instant drops” from Septem­ber.

Burberry is also col­lab­o­rat­ing with vet­eran Bri­tish de­signer Vivi­enne West­wood, who is creating pieces for the brand that will be sold from De­cem­ber.

The fash­ion house is also work­ing with Far­fetch to aid the distri­bu­tion of prod­ucts sold on­line and said that the part­ner­ship was per­form­ing ahead of ex­pec­ta­tions.

Mr Gob­betti wants Burberry to catch up with faster grow­ing lux­ury goods ri­vals like Louis Vuit­ton and Gucci, but he has warned there will be lit­tle growth in rev­enue and op­er­at­ing profit while the plan is im­ple­mented.

Burberry’s sales were driven by a strong per­for­mance in the Amer­i­cas, and con­tin­ued de­mand from Chi­nese buy­ers for its her­itage trench coats, rain­wear, hand­bags and other prod­ucts.

It emerged last month that Burberry’s for­mer chief cre­ative of­fi­cer, Hal­i­fax- born Christo­pher Bai­ley, is to walk away from the fash­ion chain with a bumper pay- off of around £ 13m.

Mr Bai­ley was Burberry’s chief ex­ec­u­tive from 2014 un­til July last year, and in Oc­to­ber an­nounced that he was leav­ing his role as cre­ative direc­tor.

Ac­cord­ing to the re­tailer’s an­nual re­port, the 47- year- old re­ceived a to­tal of £ 4.2m from his salary and ben­e­fits last year. This in­cluded £ 1.1m in ba­sic salary.

PIC­TURE: BURBERRY

FASH­ION FIG­URES: Ric­cardo

Tisci, Vivi­enne West­wood, who Burberry is col­lab­o­rat­ing with, and An­dreas Kron­thaler.

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