Challenging times for new Burberry management team as sales decline

Luxury brand Burberry
Luxury brand Burberry
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Burberry has said that like-for-like sales slipped 3% in the first quarter, laying bare the challenges facing incoming chief executive Marco Gobbetti.

The company said it faces “challenging and underlying cost inflation pressures”, adding that its outlook for the US in particular is “cautious”.

Underlying turnover was flat at £423 million, with Asia, Europe, the Middle East and the Americas all showing a fall in retail sales.

However, the pound’s fall in value since the EU referendum result means Burberry’s profits will be boosted to the tune of £90 million, up from the £50 million benefit pencilled in in April. The pound has fallen from highs of 1.50 US dollars before the vote to 1.32. The majority of Burberry’s sales come from overseas.

The results come after shake-up of the company’s top tier of management.

Former chief executive Christopher Bailey, who will now serve as chief creative officer and president, will lead the company alongside new CEO Marco Gobbetti. They will both report to the Chairman.

Mr Bailey, who was born in Halifax, said: “In what remained a challenging external environment, underlying retail sales were flat in the first quarter.

“In this context, we continue to focus on managing our business with agility whilst implementing the ambitious evolution of our strategies and ways of working we outlined in May, to position Burberry for long-term growth.”

On Monday, Burberry announced that Mr Bailey will be sidelined as chief executive and will be replaced by Mr Gobbetti, currently at French firm Celine. Mr Bailey will be moved to the role of president and retain his title of chief creative officer.

Burberry employs 800 workers in Castleford and Keighley and is moving to a new state-of-the-art manufacturing and weaving facility in Leeds.

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