In 2017, Burberry destroyed £28.6m worth of unsold clothes, accessories and perfume. The reason? A desire to protect its brand.
To avoid any surplus stock being stolen or sold cheaply on the counterfeit market, the luxury fashion retailer has destroyed goods worth more than £90m over the past five years.
And the rate at which Burberry is destroying its designs is growing. The value of surplus stock sent to be burned has increased from £26.9m last year and £18.8m in 2016.
Burberry insists that it captures the energy generated from burning its products, making the process “environmentally friendly”. And it also claims it has “careful processes” in place to minimise the amount of excess stock it produces and is seeking ways to “reduce and revalue” its waste.
But if the luxury fashion house had nailed its marketing and design strategy in the first place there would likely be less surplus stock to destroy.
It is fair to say that Burberry is undergoing a period of transformation following the departure in February of its talismanic creative director Christopher Bailey, after 17 years with the company.
The luxury retailer’s latest results show a fall in revenue to £479m from £478m the previous year during the 13 weeks to 30 June. Sales in the UK and Europe fell by “a low single-digit percentage rate”.
The fashion business blamed its performance on the falling number of Chinese tourists visiting the UK and Europe as currency fluctuations continue to bite following the Brexit vote. This is an important consideration as Chinese consumers currently account for 40% of Burberry’s sales.
The business is also overhauling its strategy for taking products to market. Under the helm of new chief creative officer Riccardo Tisci, the fashion house is moving away from releasing its full collection on a “see now buy now” basis, a model first introduced in 2016.
Only selected limited edition pieces will be available for immediate purchase from Tisci’s debut London Fashion Week show in September, with the full collection being released in February.
Taking a cue from the much-hyped streetwear market, Burberry wants to switch its strategy to making select pieces available in more frequent “instant drops”, in a bid…