Business World

Monday 19 February 2018

Burberry sees slide in UK Christmas sales amid high-end fashion makeover

New chief executive Marco Gobbetti insisted the firm was making
New chief executive Marco Gobbetti insisted the firm was making "good progress" on revamp plans

Holly Williams

Luxury fashion house Burberry said group like-for-like store sales rose by a weaker-than-expected 2pc and fell in the UK over the festive quarter.

The trench-coat maker said comparable sales in the UK fell by a "high single-digit percentage" in the three months to December 31 as it failed to match last year's impressive performance, when sales surged 40pc thanks to a boost from tourist spend.

New chief executive Marco Gobbetti insisted the firm was making "good progress" on revamp plans, despite overall retail revenues falling 2pc on a reported basis to £719m for the crucial Christmas quarter.

The like-for-like sales performance fell short of City expectations for around 4pc growth.

But Burberry said it was on track to meet full-year profit forecasts.

The UK sales decline comes as a blow after last year's soaring trade thanks to the Brexit-hit pound attracting luxury overseas shoppers.

Mr Gobbetti said: ""We are making good progress embedding our strategic vision into the organisation and remain on track to meet our full-year profit target.

"We are building on strong foundations and are fully focused on the successful delivery of our multi-year plan to position Burberry firmly in luxury and deliver long-term sustainable value."

The trading update comes after the recently appointed boss sparked a shares plunge in November as he unveiled a strategic overhaul that will see the group focus solely on high-end luxury shoppers.

This included a store closure programme, with aims to ditch its outlets in department stores and shutter shops that are not found in or near communities of luxury shoppers.

Investors baulked at the costs of the plan, sending shares falling the most in five years.

Burberry said in its latest update that it was on track to deliver cost savings of £60m in the current financial year.

On Tuesday, the group became the first British brand to drop celebrity fashion photographer Mario Testino in light of sexual harassment allegations.

Press Association

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