Burberry sales and profits down in year of transition

Burberry's London HQ

Revenue at British luxury house Burberry was down 2% on an underlying basis at £2.8bn while pre-tax profit was down 5% at £395m in the year to 31 March 2017.

The business has been undergoing a transition to reduce costs and elevate its brand positioning in the past year, which has seen it sign a licensing deal for its beauty business with Coty and announce a new service centre in Leeds meaning 300 jobs will be transferred from its London HQ.

Chief executive and chief creative officer Christopher Bailey is due to hand the CEO reins of the business to Marco Gobbetti who joined Burberry in January from Celine and has been running its APAC division in the interim. He will take over in July while Bailey moves to the new position of president and chief creative officer; both Bailey and Gobbetti will report to chairman Sir John Peace.

Marco Gobbetti (l) and Christopher Bailey

“2017 was a year of transition for Burberry in a fast changing luxury market. The actions we have taken to lay the foundations for future growth are yielding early benefits and I remain confident that these will build over time,” said Bailey.

“Marco Gobbetti assumes the role of CEO from July. With his extensive experience in the sector, we will build on these foundations to elevate and strengthen the brand further and take Burberry to the next level as a global luxury retail and digital business. I am excited to work closely with him in this next chapter,” Bailey added.

Retail revenues at the group (which account for 77% of sales) were up 3% on a underlying basis with comparable sales up 1%, however wholesale was down 14% as Burberry has sought to shake up its wholesale base. The company has also made £20m of cost savings during the year.