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Burberry focuses on digital leadership

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Burberry chief executive Christopher Bailey said today that its focus remained on leadership in the digital arena, innovation in its product range and productivity in retail as it responds to changing consumer behaviour.

Bailey, who is also chief creative officer at the upmarket lifestyle brand, said: "In a challenging external environment, we continue to focus on product innovation, retail productivity and digital leadership, against a backdrop of sustained action and investment to deliver long-term outperformance of our brand and business. The progress we are making to improve our ways of working, the agility of our teams to react to changes in consumer behaviour and the strength of our brand give us confidence for the future. We remain on track to deliver our financial goals."

The update came as Burberry said in a first-half trading statement today that travelling luxury customers moved swiftly to buy in the second quarter of the year, following the fall in the value of sterling in the wake of the EU Referendum result. Sales from this section of the market grew by more than 30% during the three months to the end of September, compared with the same time last year.

Digital outperformed during the period, with growth in all regions. The new look burberry.com launched on desktop in September, and featured improvements to payment options, to the browsing and purchasing experience, and product personalisation for heritage scarves. The retailer also introduced new functionality to enable customers to check store stock online.

Total revenue reached £1.16bn during the first half – 4% down on the same time last year, although up by 5% when currency fluctuations were taken into account. Retail revenue of £859m grew by 2%, and by 11% thanks to the boost from changing exchange rates, while wholesale revenue of £287m was down by 14%.

The retailer, a Top250 retailer in IRUK Top500 research, said it expected a profits boost of well over £100m following changing exchange rates over the summer and early autumn. Depending on the exchange rate, that could be between £105m and £125m.

At the end of the half-year, Burberry traded from 211 retail stores, 205 concessions, 60 outlets and 49 franchise stores.

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