Burberry better positioned to face COVID-19 thanks to digital expertise

Following today’s release of Burberry FY figures for 2019/20,

Sofie Willmott, Lead Retail Analyst at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, comments:

‘‘Burberry’s full year performance was significantly impacted by the pandemic originating in its biggest market, APAC, however it is starting to see green shoots of recovery in this region and can leverage its early insight into changing shopping habits, to apply lessons learnt worldwide. The luxury player’s sales were affected from January and the final quarter of FY2019/20 dragged down what would have been a strong year in Burberry’s transformation with Q4 comparable store sales slumping 27% versus growth of 4% in Q1-Q3. With many consumers apprehensive about travelling abroad this year, Burberry will see its sales shift across regions – US and EMEIA revenue usually boosted by Asian tourists will be transferred to APAC, until shoppers feel confident travelling globally once again.

Around 50% of the brand’s global store network remains closed which it expects will severely hinder Q1 FY2020/21 performance however Burberry has a robust online proposition which will help to protect its overall sales throughout the pandemic. It is in a better position than most luxury brands considering it has heavily invested in online in recent years, has an engaged digital following and regularly brings innovative concepts to its customer base, such as a live streamed tour of its flagship Shanghai store with influencer Yvonne Ching, which attracted 1.4m viewers. Other luxury retailers pale in comparison to Burberry when it comes to their digital presence and the brand’s commitment to the online channel will help to weather the coronavirus storm.  

The improvements Burberry has made to its product range, focusing on new collections and its monogrammed logo, have reignited the brand’s appeal in the last year, attracting younger consumers which will help to boost sales in the long term. The luxury retailer’s admirable actions, such as donating over 150,000 items of PPE to the NHS and helping to fund vaccine research, will also make it a more attractive choice as consumers become more cautious with their purchases.”

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