Burberry says shop closures hit sales, warns of more disruption

British Luxury brand says the first wave of coronavirus slashed sales by as much as 45%

“We expect trading will remain susceptible to regional disruptions as we close the financial year,” Burberry said. Photograph: Tolga Akmen/AFP via Getty Images

“We expect trading will remain susceptible to regional disruptions as we close the financial year,” Burberry said. Photograph: Tolga Akmen/AFP via Getty Images

 

British luxury brand Burberry said underlying sales fell 9 per cent in the three months ended December as the Covid-19 pandemic closed shops and it warned of more disruption in the coming months from the spread of new variants.

The first wave of the virus last year slashed Burberry’s sales by as much as 45 per cent before the brand bounced back on strong demand in mainland China and South Korea. New outbreaks are now causing fresh uncertainty, it said.

The 9 per cent third quarter sales decline on Wednesday was worse than the 6 per cent fall in the second quarter, and Burberry warned that 15 per cent of stores were currently closed and 36 per cent operating with restrictions as new variants of Covid-19 spread.

“We expect trading will remain susceptible to regional disruptions as we close the financial year,” Burberry said in its statement.

The group said that it was confident of rebounding when the pandemic eases given the brands resonance with younger clientele and continued strong demand in South Korea and mainland China, where quarterly digital sales growth was over 50 per cent.

In the third quarter, comparable store sales in Europe, the Middle East, India and Africa declined 37 per cent, hit by shops shut in lockdowns and a lack of tourists visiting Europe, but in the same period, it posted sales growth of 11 per cent in Asia Pacific. – Reuters