Archive:

Burberry: From Plough Horse to Thoroughbred?

For some time I’ve wanted to write an article about the change in Burberry as a business, about the time I had a lecture with Christopher Bailey, which was the same week I attended a Q&A with Colin McDowell (who talked about Burberry), and the time I went to Burberry AW ’10 at LFW.

As of yet I haven’t got around to it. I know, I’m hopeless. So, for now, there’s this rather great article from The Business of Fashion:

LONDON, United Kingdom — Fourteen years ago, Burberry was all but put out to pasture, suffering from a dusty image and its logo being pasted on cake tins, doilies and aprons. Rose-Marie Bravo was put in the saddle and took Burberry for a ride down Chav lane to the gates of the luxury racecourse. Despite doing a great job in fixing Burberry over her nine-year tenure, setting the foundations for her successor and consistently beating market expectations, the jury was still out as to whether Burberry could ever become a thoroughbred luxury brand.

The next phase of growth was spearheaded by Angela Ahrendts, who joined Burberry in 2006. Since her arrival Burberry has galloped to the top of the luxury valuation leaderboard, more than doubling in turnover and market capitalisation to £1.5 billion and £5.8 billion respectively, twice the rate of growth of LVMH’s turnover and market value over the same period.

The recent results announcement was very strong with revenue growth of 27 percent and operating profit increasing 37 percent. However, initial market reaction was muted by the company’s warning that more investment was required in its flagships and that margin growth would suffer in the short term as a result.

In this article we will examine how far the brand has come, where the potential for growth lies and what pitfalls it may encounter along the way.

Read more after the jump or read in full on the BoF website, here

(more…)

Commercial London Fashion Week lives up to the hype

London Fashion Week stamped its mark on the international buying calendar this week, impressing buyers with some of the most commercial collections seen in years.

The designers returning to London Fashion Week were the stars of the schedule. Burberry Prorsum lived up to the hype surrounding the label with a collection that plugged into the trend for commercial yet feminine and playful product. It used sugary tones of mint and baby-pink chiffon, injecting fresh takes on its signature trench coats and girly dresses.

Matthew Williamson firmly shook off his boho mantle to team ethnic undertones with futuristic shiny fabrics and metallic detailing.

The best of the rest went to Christopher Kane, whose signature style of sinister yet innocent, came through with checked prairie dresses and sherbet silks with cutaway panels.

With big British names such as Burberry Prorsum and Pringle returning to London from rival international catwalks, the pressure was on the organiser, British Fashion Council (BFC), to live up to its promise that its 25th anniversary event would restore the buzz the capital had lacked since the late 1990s.

Early reports suggested the BFC largely succeeded, with a 15% rise on last season’s visitor figures and a host of international buyers and press.

BFC chairman Harold Tillman said: “We had great feedback from international and UK attendees. There are always things we can improve and work on but that is what drives us forward.”
Buyers were impressed by new talent as well as the much-hyped big-name returns.

Liberty buying director Ed Burstell said: “London Fashion Week certainly lived up to the hype with the return of Burberry and Matthew Williamson. Both put on outstanding shows. Other favourites were Luella, for her flirty and very saleable dresses, and Mark Fast and Mary Katrantzou as new talent to watch.”

He added that the relocation of the event to Somerset House had been long overdue. That sentiment was echoed by Harvey Nichols’ fashion buying director Averyl Oates, who said Somerset House and 180 The Strand “proved that in London we don’t always need a faceless warehouse space for ambience”.

However, other buyers found the venue confusing. Pamela Shiffer, owner of the eponymous two-store London indie, said: “It was hard to get an overview with all the different rooms in Somerset House.”

Some exhibitors said the new exhibition space at 180 The Strand was quiet, but Tillman argued that brands that marketed themselves well made good sales. He said: “The exhibitors that made appointments and created a focus on their area wrote business.”

Visitors were confident that LFW would now become an essential fixture on the buying calendar. Selfridges’ director of womenswear Anita Barr said: “If the BFC can persuade labels such as Burberry to show here again it will cement London’s importance.”

Tillman added: “We know we have our work cut out but we are confident that we can continue to raise the bar.”

Burberry shares rise following London Fashion Week comeback

Burberry’s shares were up 5.5% to 502.5p yesterday, following a much acclaimed catwalk show, which closed London Fashion Week on Tuesday.

Confidence in the luxury fashion label has grown following comments from chief executive Angela Ahrendts, who reportedly said that, “the UK business has been on fire for quite a while now”.

More than 1,500 guests, including US Vogue editor Anna Wintour, Arcadia owner Sir Philip Green, M&S chief executive Sir Stuart Rose and Sainsbury chairman David Tyler, turned out to see Burberry’s return to the London catwalk. The British fashion house usually shows at Milan Fashion Week but changed location to celebrate LFW’s 25th anniversary.

The collection received rave reviews from the fashion press. See backstage and runway pictures here.

London Fashion Week – Burberry Prorsum

Taken from Drapers:

Christopher Bailey’s exquisite Burberry Prorsum collection was a fitting end to London Fashion Week’s 25th year.

Victoria Beckham, Anna Wintour, Claudia Schiffer and brand ambassador Emma Watson were all on hand to watch Bailey’s return to London with baited breath, and were not disappointed.

Following on from the ultra-feminine feel seen leading the charge through the London collections this week, Bailey also plumped for sugary tones, twisting, knotting and wrapping shades of mint, baby pink and duck egg blue chiffon into gently swathed takes on his signature trench and girlish dresses.

Pleating on shoulders added subtle volume to the upper half of the body, which draped down from the waist and out from the hips. Ruching offered the most surface texture options – other than a silver encrusted coat and jacket at the end of the show – and was deployed on trenchcoat sleeves, all the way down skinny trousers and used to add impact to nude slip dresses.

Chiffons were interspersed with stiffer satin fabrics which were bunched and tied into voluptuous peaks along the bottom of double-breasted shirt dresses and cap-sleeved minis.

Watch the runway video on the Vogue website.

The final day at LFW is traditionally not quite as exciting as the penultimate one, but this season London saved the best until last, and alongside Burberry, the day’s guests were also treated to in-your-face colour pop prom dresses from Nathan Jenden, a clean and Nineties-inspired sugary-hued collection from Jonathan Saunders and some ultra-pretty floral print gowns at Erdem.

Burberry to Launch Social Networking website

Luxury fashion retailer Burberry is to launch a social networking site next month as an attempt to forge a closer relationship with customers and attract new shoppers.

The site, artofthetrench.com, will initially feature users sending in pictures of themselves wearing Burberry trench coats.

The retailer said it already has more than 660,000 fans on Facebook.
Chief executive Angela Ahrendts told the Financial Times: “These might not even be customers yet. Or they may be a customer for a bottle of fragrance or for eyewear. But these are the customers who need the brand experience, who need to feel the brand. That word-of-mouth spreads through their social networks and continues to be a positive conversation [about Burberry]… that is so powerful.”

However, the site has already been criticised due to the negative connotations Burberry has in the UK and has received the nickname of “Chavbook”. Popular consumer website Bitterwallet made their thought’s perfectly clear by tagging the article as “Shit Idea”.

However, I think the negativity over this website because of its association as ‘chav clobber providists’ is unjustified. When Christopher Bailey visited my University he said he wasn’t too worried about this association as the majority of their sales are from abroad and the idea of “Chav” culture is only recognised in the UK.

Despite this, I still think the website’s a bad idea.