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The Burberry approach to omnichannel investment

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Burberry set out its approach to multichannel retailing in today’s full-year results. The upmarket fashion retailer, a Top350 retailer in InternetRetailing IRUKTop500 research, says growth in digital has followed investment in omnichannel. Here are the highlights.

Online and digital

Burberry says digital has helped it to boost revenues both on its own website and through third-party sites. It has soft-launched its customer app in the UK, and it has a redesigned website for desktop and mobile. Digital growth, it says, reflects its strategic focus and investment in digital: some 70% of customers’ buying decisions are now influenced online.

The stores

Burberry says it is focusing on improving service, cultivating customers, and on product and operations in a strategy designed to improve its end-to-end retail experience. In response it has seen improvements to conversion and customer retention. It has invested in training sales staff, with an emphasis on service, and has increased its private client team by more than 50%.


Burberry said that demand had fell in the US during the year, but that the relative strength of the US dollar meant US shoppers were shopping while abroad; as a result revenue from US shoppers stayed stable over the year. The retailer has launched a local site for China.

The product

Burberry says it is focusing on key product categories and simplifying the offer, while also boosting innovation and tailoring the offer for local needs. Customer response to direct-to-consumer runway collections has been positive, while fashion also outperformed following innovations such as the launch of lightweight tropical gabardine.

The infrastructure

Burberry is looking to simplify processes, improve its technology, while also investing in more efficient procurement and inventory management. The pilot of a digital indirect procurement system, it said today, cut order approval time by 65%. Meanwhile, the move to a single pool of inventory has boosted stock availability by 7%. The retailer is now working towards better omnichannel customer journeys, and faster delivery times.

The figures

Revenue of £2.8bn in the year to March 31 was down by 2% on an underlying basis, although it rose by 10% once currency fluctuations were taken into account. Retail sales, which account for 77% of revenue, were up by 3% on an underlying basis, and like-for-like sales were up by 1%. Pre-tax profits of £462m were down by 21% before exceptional items, while bottom line pre-tax profits of £395m were down from £416m last year. By the end of the full year, Burberry traded online and through 209 owned stores, 200 concessions within department stores, and 60 outlets.

Board-level changes

Christopher Bailey, who has been combining the role of chief creative with chief executive officer, is to shed some of those responsibilities with the arrival of new incoming chief executive, Marco Gobbetti. “With his extensive experience in the sector, we will build on these foundations to elevate and strengthen the brand further and take Burberry to the next level as a global luxury retail and digital business,” said Bailey. “I am excited to work closely with him in this next chapter.”

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