Burberry says it has found new ways to engage with its customers online in the first half of its financial year, from in-game NFTs, augmented reality on social media to a new store concept.
The luxury fashion brand, ranked Top350 in RXUK Top500 research, created its first in-game NFT (non-fungible token) in partnership with the Blankos Block Party multilevel game in August. Its limited edition Burberry Blanko, Sharky B, together with a range of accessories, sold out all 750 units in 30 seconds. In July, an interactive augmented reality brand filter on TikTok generated 3.7bn views.
Burberry says full-price digital sales have continued to grow quickly in the first half of its financial year, as it moves away from discounting. But as stores have reopened from lockdowns, growth has transferred to its stores. The retailer is integrating its stores more closely with online, producing content sharing tools for in-store sales staff to use in regional pilots. It has also launched an outwear hub on its website to help shoppers find products more quickly. This came as the retailer also looks to “elevate” its customer experience through a new store concept.
In the first half the year the retailer opened a net four shops, including five openings in mainland China and a new concept store on London’s Sloane Street. It is currently refurbishing its flagship stores to that new concept.
The luxury fashion brand today reported revenues of £1.2bn in the half-year to September 25. That’s 38% up on the same time last year. Like-for-like store sales were 37% higher than at the same time last year, though they were a quarter (25%) lower than the first half of the same time in pre-pandemic 2019.
Pre-tax profits of £191m were 2.6 times higher than the £73m reported a year earlier, following a strategic decision to move away from discounting in-store and online. The retailer says the profitability improvements came “despite significant pressures from Brexit duties and channel mix.”
Burberry chair Gerry Murphy, says: “We have made strong progress in the half. Full-price sales are growing at a double-digit percentage, driving margin expansion and strong free cash generation. We are seeing an acceleration in performance in countries less impacted by travel restrictions and we remain confident of achieving our medium-term goals.”
Burberry unveiled its biodiversity strategy at Cop26 in Glasgow this month, which includes a five-year investment in the LEAF Coalition, a public-private initiative to finance the protection of tropical forests, and a partnership with The Savory Institute to help regenerate grasslands around the world – and with them the livelihoods of the people who live there. It says it is on track to become carbon neutral, sourcing 100% renewable electricity across its own operations by the end of its current financial year.
Burberry sells online and from 419 shops, including 218 own shops and 145 concessions. Jonathan Akeroyd is to join as chief executive in April, replacing Marco Gobbetti.