Burberry hails China revival as Q1 booms, but Americas declines

China’s bounce-back this year helped Burberry in its first quarter with the company on Friday announcing overall comparable sales up as much as 18%.


Digging deeper into that figure shows just how important not just China, but the whole of Asia is to the firm.

Group sales excluding Mainland China were up 11%, with EMEIA 17% higher. Meanwhile South Asia Pacific rose 39%, Japan rose an even better 44% and China jumped 46%.

South Korea was “robust” if less spectacular but still saw a 6% rise, but the Americas remained the main problem region and was down 8%, continuing a trend seen all year in which luxury businesses have faced major challenges there.

The Americas decline was broadly in line with the drop in Q4 FY23. Burberry added that globally, “the Americas customer decreased mid-single digit with the decline in locals partially offset by outbound tourist spend”.

That wider 18% comparable store sales rise looks even better when we consider that in the 13 week weeks to the beginning of July last year, comp sales rose only 1%. 

Meanwhile, retail revenue on a reported basis rose 17% to £589 million this time, and was up 19% on a currency-neutral basis.

So what performed well in the latest quarter? Burberry said core categories of outerwear and leather goods were strong with outerwear comparable store sales up 36%, led by heritage rainwear. Leather goods comp store sales were up 13% with women’s bags, especially the Frances shapes and vintage Burberry Check line, “performing well”. The company added that “we look forward to building on this when Daniel Lee’s debut runway collection launches in stores in September”.

Sales were helped by a “compelling programme of brand and product activations driving customer engagement” during the quarter, including the launch of its Summer capsule. 

The company said its “new visual expression of Burberry” drove the strong performance and it’s continuing to reach out to its younger consumer base “with social media content iconising our brand codes”. For instance, it achieved a record 20.8m views on TikTok with a post featuring its new blue rose print.

Other support included its new swimwear campaign in May, ’A Burberry Summer’, inspired by its heritage of adventure. The collection features a range of summer ready-to-wear, including swimwear, as well as beach totes, all featuring the Burberry Check. This was supported by dedicated window displays in over 80 stores in important locations, as well as 15 seasonal pop-ups in Turkey, Italy and Thailand.

Stores were clearly key during the quarter and as many as 19 were reopened after refurbishment or newly opened in the period. Its relaunched flagship store on New Bond Street, London, now offering an immersive shopping experience across all categories, wouldn’t have contributed as it’s only just opened its doors after two years of works. But it should have a big impact on the current quarter.

Burberry is also refurbishing its 57th Street store in New York and has opened a store on 5th Avenue there to temporarily replace it while the revamp works continue.

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