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Burberry doubles Facebook following to 12m

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Upmarket fashion retailer Burberry today showed the continued importance of social media to its fast-growing business as it revealed that its Facebook following topped 12m during its latest financial half-year.

Updating the markets on its trading in the second half of the year, Burberry said its social media had shown momentum over the period. During the six months to March 31 its Facebook following doubled to more than 12m. At the same time its retail sales, which include ecommerce, grew to 72% of its turnover during the period, compared to the same time last year.

Burberry’s total sales rose to £1.03bn in the six month period, up 18% on last time. Its retail sales were 23% up at £743m. ‘Comparable’ store sales rose by 12%. The retailer said its markets in the UK, France and Greater China drove growth, which was balanced across its four product divisions. Wholesale revenue rose by 7% to £230, with double digital growth in the US, emerging markets and Asia while licensing revenues grew by 5% to £54m.

In the year ahead, Burberry said it planned to increase its average retail selling space by between 12% and 14%, with a focus on larger stores.

Angela Ahrendts, chief executive officer, said: “With underlying revenue up 18% in the second half, we are pleased with Burberry’s finish to the year across all channels, regions and product divisions. Looking ahead, while we remain vigilant about the external environment, our global teams continue to focus on optimising our core brand, digital and cultural initiatives, while investing to drive sustainable, profitable growth.”

Our view: Burberry has long put an emphasis on social media in its business. Its enthusiastic Facebook followers can enjoy a rich diet of styled music videos, footage and images from its advertising campaigns and catwalk shows, fashion and beauty advice as well as updates on the retailer’s range as part of its digital media campaigns. Research from Exact Target that we reported last week on Internet Retailing showed that brands’ Facebook followers are 24% more likely to buy from them. Certainly it’s a great way to involve customers in the brand, and make them feel part of something in a way that’s also likely to encourage them to buy.

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